You know you have gone too far when Big Pharma is rightfully calling you out on outrageous drug price markups.

Big Pharma – the group largely responsible for out-of-control drug costs – is criticizing hospitals for taking advantage of a federal drug program to make enormous profits.

And, studies show, their criticism is valid.

The program, called “340B,” was created by the federal government in 1992 to help uninsured, vulnerable and low-income patients get medicine at an affordable cost.

Under the program, drug manufacturers are required to sell their products at a steep discount to select “340B covered entity” hospitals so those savings can be passed on to the patient.

But that is not what the hospitals are doing.

Instead, they are placing enormous markups on these drugs and profiting off the spread.

This is especially true for specialty medicine and cancer drugs.

According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, hospitals eligible for 34BB federal drug discounts charge 300 percent higher for these specialty drugs than what they pay for them.

More than 50 hospitals in North Carolina qualify for these mandated discounts, including many of the biggest: Atrium Health, Novant, Vidant, Duke, UNC and WakeMed.

A recent report by North Carolina state government officials found that hospitals were charging more than 500 percent over the discounted price they paid to get the drug.  

340B was created to help people get drugs they otherwise could not afford.

It has, unfortunately, been turned into a money-making tool by big hospital systems.

And it has gotten so bad that even Big Pharma is calling out the hospitals on their bad behavior.

Elected leaders need to institute changes that put a stop to these outrageous price markups.

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