Imagine a World without the 340B Drug Discount Program | 340B Matters
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15 Feb Imagine a World without the 340B Drug Discount Program

What if your child became ill and needed emergency care, but when you arrived at the local hospital’s emergency room, the door was locked and the hospital was closed for good?

It could happen – if Big Pharma gets its way.

America’s safety-net hospitals and clinics survive thanks to a complex combination of funding from state, federal and private insurers. A critical lifeline for so many of these hospitals is the 340B Drug Discount Program, created by Congress in 1992 and signed by President George H.W. Bush. It costs taxpayers zero.

The program requires pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted medications to hospitals and clinics that treat high numbers of indigent patients. In return, Big Pharma gets to sell its products to the fabulously lucrative and taxpayer-financed Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The revenues realized by the health providers on the discounted drugs are used to fund essential health care in communities that need it most – just as Congress intended. And it doesn’t cost taxpayers one, thin dime. But driven by greed, the drug industry is working overtime to choke out the 340B program under the barely-disguised rhetoric of reform.

Let’s stop for a second and contemplate a world without it.

Kiss more rural hospitals goodbye. Since 2005, 191 have closed or been converted to other purposes. Many rural hospitals are barely economically viable and they rely on the 340B program to stay in operation. Enormous health care deserts in rural areas will become commonplace in every state.

Maternity care will disappear in many areas. According to the research firm Chartis, 217 hospitals have closed their labor and delivery departments since 2017. More than 2.2 million women of childbearing age across 1,100 U.S. counties are living in maternity care deserts, says a recent report from the March of Dimes. Many safety-net hospitals use 340B funding to provide services to pregnant women.

Behavioral health services diminish. Many safety-net hospitals depend on 340B to help fund screening and therapy for patients suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.

Less medication assistance. Clinics and hospitals often tap their 340B reserves to provide low-cost or no-cost medications to their patients as well as assistance with very high copays.

Diabetes, HIV/AIDS and primary care clinics wink out.  These are money-losing services made possible by savings provided by the 340B program

It’s pretty grim to contemplate. Meanwhile, Big Pharma is swimming in cash. In 2023, the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies posted a staggering $126 billion in profits. All have illegally blocked discounts to 340B hospitals and clinics.

Not surprisingly, Big Pharma is spending a fortune in Washington on political contributions and lobbyists to protect their massive earnings. That figure came to an eye-popping $126 million in 2023, according to

Imagine, all that money and the drug industry still wants a world without 340B.

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