On Jan. 17, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) met to discuss whether the 340B Drug Discount Program creates incentives for participating hospitals to use more expensive drugs. This topic was one of many on the agenda and came at the request of House Energy and Commerce lawmakers. Commission staff looked at data from 340B and non-340B hospitals, along with physician practices, that pertained to five types of cancer — breast, colorectal, prostate, lung, leukemia and lymphoma.
Staff found three takeaways:
- There is evidence of higher drug spending at 340B hospitals for some cancer types.
- The effects on cancer drug spending are likely to be idiosyncratic and not generalizable to other cancers or conditions.
- Overall effects on cost sharing for cancer patients is likely to be small, if any, depending on the type of cancer and the patient's supplemental coverage.
A summary of the session and copies of the slides are available. Additional information is expected to be included in MedPAC's March report to Congress.