Federal pricing program for rare pediatric drugs restored

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The doctors, nurses and other clinicians at The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton treat over 275,000 children each year, many receiving care for serious and complex pediatric diseases and conditions. Prescription drugs are often a vital part of their treatment, but due to the unique diagnoses of many of our young patients, these medicines are often quite costly.

To help keep prices of these drugs within manageable limits, the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program requires that outpatient prescription drugs be sold at discounted prices to safety-net institutions, like Dayton Children’s, which serves a high percentage of low-income patients. Currently, 50% of the patients at Dayton Children’s are considered low-income.

Unfortunately, during the passage of heath reform last year, an unintentional error resulted in the exclusion of “orphan drugs,” or drugs used to treat rare medical conditions, from the 340B program when used by children’s hospitals. Dayton Children’s uses orphan drugs on a daily basis and the exclusion from the 340B program posed significant problems for our pharmacy and patient care.

On Thursday, December 9, Congress clarified the provision in health care reform that inadvertently denied children's hospitals access to significant discounts on so-called "orphan drugs" for their patients, many of whom require expensive, long-term or complicated care.

The U.S. House passed the legislation yesterday after the Senate approved. President Obama has indicated that he will sign the bill, H.R. 4994, that includes this technical correction.

We thank the members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who advocated for this crucial clarification.

Dayton Children’s wants to thank our entire congressional  delegation, particularly Senators  Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich, for their hard work on this issue. 

Thank you for putting kids first!




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