As I note in The Coming Battle Over 340B Contract Pharmacies, the 340B contract pharmacy market has exploded far beyond what was considered or intended in the drug discount program’s original legislation. It is rumored that a 340B super-regulation will be coming sometime next year. Let’s hope for substantial reform to the out-of-control contract pharmacy marketplace.
BTW, the letter will also make you double-check your LinkedIn profile. See the cautionary tale below.
Using a complex process and independent technology vendors, 340B entities are secretly profiting from drugs that are dispensed by retail community pharmacies and fully paid by third-party insurance. For a summary, see Hospitals Twist Prescription Assistance Program For Their Own Benefit. Two weeks ago, Drug Channels revealed that Walgreens Dominates 340B Contract Pharmacy Mega-Networks.
In his letter, Grassley highlights the fact that 5,400 Walgreens locations are 340B contract pharmacies. (source?) Grassley and his staff are clearly following the dollars. Here are two of their squirm-inducing questions into Walgreen’s activities:
“2) Please provide a summary of all profits generated as a result of participating in the 340B program as a contract pharmacy. When providing this information, please break down the revenue by location and participating covered entity.”
“4) For the top 100 340B drugs dispensed, please provide a breakdown of the financial arrangement, including: how much money goes to (1) the participating covered entity; (2) Walgreens; and (3) any supplemental vendor or contractor that assists in managing the relationship between Walgreens and the covered entity (i.e. split billing software vendor).”You get the idea. The other six questions are equally pointed.
Grassley’s letter also highlights statements about Walgreen’s 340B activities that appear in the LinkedIn profile of Timothy Hong, a “Senior 340B Inventory and Reconciliation Analyst at Walgreens.” For example, Hong writes: “Optimize client’s 340B program, so they can be more profitable while lowering Walgreen’s liability.” Hmmm.
I presume Hong’s online profile will vanish soon, so here’s a screen shot. (Click to enlarge.)
Friendly reminder: Check your LinkedIn profile for incriminating statements!