Court may ex­pand 340B drug dis­count pro­gram as CMS preps $9B for 1,700 hos­pi­tals

A South Car­oli­na fed­er­al court on Fri­day en­dorsed the idea that the Health Re­sources and Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­f­i­n­i­tion of “pa­tient” un­der its 340B pro­gram for the poor­est pa­tients is not broad enough, po­ten­tial­ly open­ing the door for hos­pi­tals and oth­er cov­ered en­ti­ties to fur­ther ex­pand the bal­loon­ing drug dis­count pro­gram.

The court ex­plained its own broad­er de­f­i­n­i­tion by not­ing that Con­gress chose to en­act the 340B statute with­out any lim­i­ta­tion on pa­tient el­i­gi­bil­i­ty and, in fact, omit­ted lan­guage re­quir­ing the in­di­vid­ual to re­ceive the drug or bi­o­log­i­cal “as a pa­tient of the cov­ered en­ti­ty.”

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