Senator questions hospitals over cancer drug discounts

Following reports that hospitals were marking cancer drugs upward of 10 times their value, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is questioning three North Carolina nonprofit hospitals about drug price discounts they receive, the News Observer reported. Grassley sent letters to Duke University Health System, UNC Hospitals and Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, asking them to summarize the revenue they've received from the federal 340B program, which allows hospitals to receive price breaks from drug makers for financially needy patients.

"If 'non-profit' hospitals are essentially profiting from the 340B program without passing those savings to its patients, then the 340B program is not functioning as intended," Grassley wrote.

The number of hospital participants in the 340B program jumped from 591 in 2005 to 1,673 last year, the newspaper noted. Article