The federal government said it plans to ask five brand-name drugmakers to credit safety-net providers for about $6 million in overcharges dating to 1999. Hospitals and health centers that serve the poor may buy drugs at substantial discounts through the Public Health Service's 340B program. According to the HHS' inspector general's office, the five drugmakers inappropriately inflated their best-price calculations in federal fiscal 1999 by not factoring in sales to HMO repackagers, which buy and then resell drugs in smaller quantities. As a result, manufacturers charged providers $13.7 million for 11 drugs -- 45% more than should have been paid. The report does not identify the companies or products. Read the report. -- by Laura B. Benko
Some safety-net providers may get drug credits
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