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A federal appeals court judge has sided with the American Hospital Association in expediting a lawsuit over Medicare cuts in reimbursements for pharmaceutical drug costs. According to the news website Healthcare Dive, the ruling means oral arguments could begin in May.

The American Hospital Association and other parties are suing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies over cuts to the 340B program. The groups had sued last year, but that suit was dismissed because the cuts did not take effect until January 2018. The groups refiled their lawsuit at the beginning of the year and asked the courts to expedite the proceedings.

Pharmaceutical prices available through the 340B program are significantly lower than both retail and wholesale prices. In 2015, the Government Accountability Office reported that program participants can save an estimated 20 to 50 percent off drug costs. New regulations by CMS threaten those savings, cutting the reimbursement to 22.5 percent less than the average sale price. Previously, hospitals were reimbursed the full average sale price of a drug plus 6 percent.

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