340B Matters seeks to protect this vital program for nonprofit healthcare facilities from those that would severely restrict access to the 340B program. We support patients over profits.
Congress enacted the 340B program in 1992 in reaction to the rapidly-increasing costs of pharmaceutical drugs. This steep increase in drug prices created extreme pressure on safety-net hospitals that provided care to our most vulnerable populations as well as other nonprofit healthcare facilities. Drug companies are not required to join the 340B program, but in order to participate in Medicaid and Medicare markets, they must agree to provide discounted outpatient drug rates to safety-net providers through the 340B program.
The purpose of the 340B program is to have drug manufacturers provide valuable savings from the normal market price to help safety-net hospitals offset operational costs that would normally be absorbed by the federal, state, and local governments so they do not have to increase taxes beyond their current levels of funding. Hospitals, as well as other nonprofit healthcare facilities, use 340B savings as an integral part of their required community benefit by funding a variety of programs in their communities that improve access to care for their citizens. The program helps fund critical services including patient counseling and education, transportation to care facilities, neonatal services, emergency care, language translation services, etc.
Other 340B programs include free and discounted medicines, immunizations, medication therapy management for HIV/AIDS and cancer, offsetting hospitals’ uncompensated care, and a host of other programs that improve quality of care for our nation’s most vulnerable members.