11 Dec TribTalk: Setting the record straight on drug discounts
“We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 340B Drug Pricing Program, signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush. With strong bipartisan support, the law requires drug companies to discount their prices when they sell to clinics, hospitals and health centers that care for large numbers of low-income and rural patients. Since that time, the 340B program has saved billions of dollars for low-income and vulnerable patients and helped to shore up the health care safety net. And, perhaps most remarkable, it doesn’t cost the government a penny. How many laws can say the same?
At a time when drugmakers are charging record prices for their products and jacking up prices on cancer drugs and other lifesaving treatments, 340B is one of the only consumer protection laws on the books. That’s why, in Texas, 141 hospitals participate in 340B and their patients benefit every day.
So why, in a Nov. 20 TribTalk column, would Dr. Debra Patt say 340B is “a good idea gone bad”? Sadly, the answer is politics. A well-funded effort has been launched by Big Pharma to drill holes in 340B so that they can charge higher prices and reap bigger profits.”