07 Aug 340B Program Faces Big Pharma Attacks, HRSA Inaction
By 340B Matters
Just as safety-net healthcare providers face historic budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, Big Pharma has launched an attack on the 340B Drug Discount Program while the federal agency overseeing it has suspiciously turned away.
Eli Lilly, Merck and Sanofi have unilaterally undermined the 340B program. Lilly is refusing to supply discounted medications as required by law. Merck and Sanofi are threatening to bury hospitals under unnecessary reporting and could limit discounts at contracted pharmacies. Meanwhile, the Health Resources and Services Administration is shirking its responsibility by announcing it does not have the legal authority to enforce 340B rules.
It is disgraceful that both the federal government and Big Pharma have chosen to undermine an essential financial lifeline for health providers treating the underserved across America during a national health crisis.
How did we get here? Big Pharma dislikes 340B because it cuts into its excessive profits. It has tried for years to weaken the program in Congress only to be stymied by unyielding bi-partisan support. For its part, HRSA has always wanted Congress to grant it full regulatory authority which was overlooked in the original 340B law. Instead, the agency has depended on sub-regulatory “guidance” to manage 340B for the past 28 years. It’s not a perfect solution but it has sufficed.
The shameful opportunism by both the drug industry and HRSA threatens to impact America’s safety-net hospitals, clinics, and the millions of patients they serve. Without the 340B Drug Discount Program, these providers would face deep revenue shortfalls that would limit their ability to treat low-income individuals. Thousands of clinics would suffer, vital diabetes and HIV services would be impacted, and the price of medications would rise out of reach for the patients least able to afford them.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The federal government and the drug industry must step back and remember what’s at stake – the health of the American people and the medical providers that are caring for them during the worst public health crisis in a century.
Do the right thing Eli Lilly, Merck and Sanofi: Stop bullying American’s safety-net providers to further enrich yourselves. Do the right thing HRSA: Hold anyone who violates your agency’s guidance accountable.
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