District Court Rules Rural Hospitals Can't Use Discount Program for Orphan Drugs
ASHP announced today that it is extremely disappointed in the recent court decision by the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia that will exclude all drugs with an “orphan” designation from the 340B Drug Pricing Program for rural and cancer hospitals.
In an October 14 decision, the court struck down an interpretive rule by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that allowed rural hospitals and other facilities newly eligible for 340B discounts to use the program to purchase orphan drugs when the product will not be used for the orphan indication.
“This ruling will limit access to critical medications for the sickest patients in our healthcare system,” said Kasey K. Thompson, Pharm.D., M.S., M.B.A., ASHP Vice President of Policy, Planning, and Communications. “ASHP has long maintained that the interpretation by HRSA of the orphan drug provisions of the Affordable Care Act was correct and that rural and cancer hospitals should be able to access orphan drugs under the 340B program when used for non-orphan indications.”
The entities affected by the court decision — rural, cancer, critical-access, and sole community hospitals — treat patients with the most acute and complex medical conditions. Without access to these discounts, participating hospitals may not be able to absorb the cost of providing care to patients who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s more than 40,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For over 70 years, ASHP has been on the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists advance healthcare, visit ASHP’s website, www.ashp.org, or its consumer website, www.SafeMedication.com.
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