340B How To

340b Drug Pricing Program — named after the section of the Public Health Service Act that put this program into action — is a program that requires pharmaceutical manufacturers participating in Medicaid to sell outpatient drugs at discounted prices to healthcare organizations that care for many uninsured and low-income patients. These organizations include community health centers, hospitals,and some health clinics — all programs that help provide discounts to low-income, uninsured, and under-insured patients.

 

*Note: These programs have served as a safety net for people with diabetes since its inception. For people with diabetes, insulin can often cost $15/month or less. However, over the last year, insulin manufacturers have been pulling their insulins from certain locations or pulling their medication entirely from the 340b program. It is important to verify that the pharmacy you’re looking at can provide discounted insulin and can provide the specific insulin you need. Even within community health centers that have multiple pharmacies, only one of their pharmacies may have insulin.

 

Step by Step How To

  1. If you have a current doctor, it may be worth talking to your doctor about the 340b program. Many doctors at hospitals participate in the 340b program and may be able to get you connected at your current location
  2. If your provider does not participate in the 340b program, locate a health center near you: https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ (***there’s also this link which allows people to refine the search but I think this might be more confusing and overwhelming to people)
    1. Enter your zip code and how many miles radius you can travel
    2. Not all of the programs listed are open to the general public, so you may need to call a few places before you find one that works for your situation
    3. You can print out the results by clicking on the red PDF or green Excel Sheet button in the top right corner of the map
  3. Insulin and other pharmaceutical manufacturers have been pulling their products from some 340b providers. It’s important that you confirm that the pharmacy can handle your specific insulin or medication needs. The best way to do that is by contacting the pharmacy directly and speaking to a manager or the director of pharmacy. You should also confirm if you need a prescription from one of their providers at the clinic (which will require an appointment) or if you can transfer a previous prescription you received from your doctor
  4. If the program requires a prescription from one of their healthcare providers, make an appointment with the center. Many places offer same day appointments, especially if you need a medication urgently. The appointments aren’t necessarily no-charge but you can ask if they offer a sliding scale. Often the appointments will be at a reduced price.
  5. When you are at your appointment, be clear with your healthcare provider that you need a new prescription for insulin and/or other medication and diabetes supplies. This might also be a good opportunity to get blood work done for a reduced fee if it’s been a while.
  6. Picking up your prescription will look different at each location: discuss with your healthcare provider if the pharmacy is on-site or if you have to go off-site to a contract pharmacy — a pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens that is contracted to provide 340b prescriptions — to pick up your 340b prescriptions.
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