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July 18, 2012

Medication Discount Program

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Regional Health Inc, Rapid City, South Dakota (Dr Hart; chart@regionalhealth.com); and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, Washington, DC (Dr Siegel).

JAMA. 2012;308(3):237-238. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.6622

To the Editor: We believe that information reported in the Capitol Health Call article about the 340B drug discount program,1 which gives safety-net providers discounts on medications, requires clarification.

The article stated that “participating institutions may dispense the discounted drugs to patients who are uninsured, on marginal incomes, or without another source for preventive and primary care services. The concern is that entities may be buying discounted drugs, giving these medications to different patients, and charging insurers or Medicare full price.” These statements suggest that discounted pricing is available only for low-income or uninsured patients and that insurance companies and Medicare may be overpaying 340B providers. Both assertions are incorrect.