26 Jul Feel the Love for 340B
By 340B Matters
Big Pharma has been trying to maim or kill the 340B Drug Discount Program for years and hasn’t succeeded. That’s because it has enjoyed enormous bi-partisan support from successive presidential administrations as well as hundreds of members of the U.S. House and Senate.
“Every time a pharmaceutical company withholds a 340B discount from an eligible pharmacy, that company is unlawfully overcharging the healthcare safety net and withholding resources from the most vulnerable patients in our communities,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).
Rep. John Rose (R-TN) agrees: “The 340B program is an important avenue for offering lower drug prices for our most vulnerable citizens. It is often a lifeline of financial support for small, rural hospitals in middle Tennessee and across the country.”
As for Big Pharma’s behavior, here is how Rep. Rose feels: “I have no other word to describe it other than unconscionable that companies founded to help sick patients by providing life-saving medication deliberately undermine a law to increase affordable access.”
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) can speak firsthand. “I worked in healthcare for three decades. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen the 340B program be the difference between a losing year … and perhaps breaking even or a slight margin.”
In addition to the bipartisan support from Congress, the United States Supreme Court has now opined on the important work of the 340B Program. In a recent ruling on Medicare payments, the court said: “340B hospitals perform valuable services for low-income and rural communities but have to rely on limited federal funding for support.”
Further, the court appears clear on the intent of the program: “Congress, when enacting the statute, was well aware that 340B hospitals paid less for covered prescription drugs. It may be that the reimbursement payments were intended to offset the considerable costs of providing healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured in low-income and rural communities.”
So, while drug companies continue to illegally refuse 340B discounts to safety-net hospitals and clinics and spread lies and disinformation, there is steadfast support for the program on both sides of the aisle in Congress and in the U.S. Supreme Court.
That’s not going to change anytime soon.
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