An Assessment of the NYCRx Prescription Drug Assistance Program
Special Projects Fund
April 21, 2008
The high cost of prescription drugs can prevent people from filling prescriptions. To address this issue, the federal government created the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which allows health centers to offer deeply discounted medications to their patients. However, the 340B program is often underutilized. NYCRx was created to help eligible health centers overcome barriers to using the 340B program. To help safety-net sites fully maximize 340B savings, NYCRx had to determine why fewer sites have applied for the program than expected; the causes behind delays in program implementation; and why only a small number of uninsured individuals choose to receive discounted prescription drugs through the program. With funding from NYHealth, Health Management Associates (HMA) conducted an analysis of the barriers faced by NYCRx, provideed technical assistance to NYCRx staff, and reported findings to NYHealth.
HMA examined barriers to safety-net site participation and timely implementation; clinic directors’ perceptions about the application process; and operational requirements to 340B program participation. It then used these findings to create recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the 340B program among safety- net providers. It also developed measurable targets for NYCRx to increase participation in the 340B program over the next two years. HMA produced a confidential briefing memo to the Foundation summarizing the key obstacles that resulted in the slow implementation and small number of participants in the 340B program. It also created a second report to be shared with NYCRx summarizing its assessment of the obstacles faced by the 340B program and provided recommendations for the implementation process.