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NCPA urges strengthening of 340B program in letter to Congress

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. An organization representing the nation's independent pharmacies issued a letter to the chairmen of two congressional committees, expressing its opinion of a program provision in the two healthcare-reform bills currently being reconciled between the House and Senate.

The National Community Pharmacists Association's letter -- issued to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., of the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- focused on 340B pharmaceutical pricing program, which is "being undermined and threatened," the organization said. Although the program would be expanded, giving way to pharmaceutical discounts under the program, and include inpatients as well as outpatients, NCPA said the program should be safeguarded and protected against the diversion of discounted drugs to ineligible patients or inappropriate use by the facilities that receive them.

“Community pharmacists share the commendable goal of helping patients obtain prescription medications that they could not otherwise afford,” said Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “However, we believe that certain safeguards and clarifications must be integrated into the 340B program to put it on a firmer footing and prevent the misuse that currently occurs in some instances.”

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