09 Jul Opinion: Bolstering the 340B Program improves the health care ecosystem in our communities
“As a country, we are struggling to address what has become a tragic opioid epidemic gripping the nation. Our community health care providers are on the front lines of this crisis. While hospitals and clinics work tirelessly to both prevent and treat substance use disorder, they are simultaneously fending off constant threats of budget cuts and sabotage by the Trump administration. The possibility of Republicans cutting billions of dollars from the Medicaid program hovers over our safety net providers, threatening their ability to serve patients with behavioral health care needs.
One, perhaps lesser known, example of this health care sabotage has come in the form of attacks on the 340B Drug Discount program. Safety net providers rely on this vital program to serve their communities, including those suffering from substance use disorder.
Congress created the 340B Program in 1992 to increase the capacity of health-care providers to serve more patients and improve care. It requires drug manufacturers to sell discounted medications to safety net providers, including hospitals and clinics that serve low-income and vulnerable populations. Participants in the program include children’s hospitals, HIV/AIDS treatment centers, opioid addiction clinics, hemophilia treatment centers and other hospitals and clinics serving their communities. Because the 340B program is reliant on private drug companies offering discounts, there is no cost to taxpayers.”