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Hospitals give discounted drugs for uninsured to insured patients at markup

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N.C. Baptist Hospital (Credit: Walter Unks/JOURNAL)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Triad’s major hospitals are being tight-lipped about their participation in a federal program that provides deep discounts on drugs that are intended to go to low-income and uninsured patients but go mostly to insured people in at least three major medical centers in North Carolina.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that the result is that those hospitals are earning millions of dollars off the drug discounts, an Iowa congressman has found.

A series of articles in September by The Charlotte Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh focused on how not-for-profit hospitals – in particular Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, UNC Hospitals and Duke University Hospital — are dramatically inflating prices on chemotherapy drugs.

The newspapers determined the prices on the chemo drugs were increased often two to 10 times over cost at a time when hospitals are cornering more of the market on cancer care.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal.