In a session titled “The Future of 340B,” a medication discount program receiving a lot of attention on Capitol Hill and in the press, speakers offered strategies for reaping potential 340B financial rewards as well as avoiding possible pitfalls. Offering Insights on how the relationship between covered entities (participating hospitals) and contract pharmacies may change with legislative or regulatory developments, the session offered best practices for independent 340B contract pharmacies.

The session speakers pointed to numerous potential benefits afforded by 340B program participation, including increased foot traffic and increased average margin per prescription, which can be used to add various services beyond dispensing. These include such services as transitions of care, bedside delivery, chronic care management, medication synchronization, and compliance packaging.

Speaker Amanda Gaddy, RPh, co-founder, Secure340B, McDonough, Georgia, said, “It really should be a true partnership.” She recommends meeting with the covered entity (participating hospital) regularly. “You may discover other ways that you can work with them.” For example, the hospital might have an issue with asthma, and you [contract pharmacy] can follow up with an asthma education event.” The 340B program, she added, can be a conduit for “bringing it all together. There is so much more that you can do.”

The expert presenters also summarized current legislative and regulatory changes looming for the 340B Program. For example, they pointed out that the 2019 Proposed Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Rule would extend Part B payment cuts for 340B drugs already in effect since January 1, 2018 to 340B drugs provided at nonexcepted off-campus, provider-based departments. In addition, President Trump’s Drug Pricing “Blueprint” suggests that the 340B program leads to higher manufacturer list prices, and the 340B Ceiling Price & Manufacturer CMPs Final Rule has now stalled five times and was most recently delayed until July 2019.

Despite the bureaucratic roadblocks, the presenters said, the need for a healthcare safety net remains, and there are still opportunities for community pharmacies to partner with covered entities and positively impact patient care. For example, there is a concerted effort by 340B hospitals to expand ways in which the 340B program allows them to serve their low-income and rural patients and emphasize its positive impact. This, the speakers stressed, results in additional opportunities for participating contract pharmacies to offer additional services, boost patient outcomes, and lower overall costs to the healthcare system.

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