AHF Rolls Out National TV Ad Campaign to Preserve 340B Discount Drug Program

In Advocacy, News by AHF

As new ad campaign to save 340B program rolls out in eight media markets around the US, advocates cite Harris Poll showing only 1 in 10 Americans think the drug industry is “…honest and trustworthy.”

The 340B discount drug program requires drug drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible health care organizations/covered entities at significantly reduced prices. 340B enables covered entities to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more patients with more services.

WASHINGTON (October 22, 2015) As part of a nationwide advocacy campaign to preserve the government’s 340B discount drug pricing program from ongoing and aggressive attacks by the pharmaceutical industry, PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) and its lobbyists, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is rolling out a new national public awareness/TV ad campaign that highlights the critical importance of the 340B program to HIV/AIDS and other patients. The campaign is intended to persuade Congress to maintain this crucial public health program as well as to embarrass and shame the drug industry and its lobbyists into stop trying to gut 340B.

AHF’s national 340B TV ad campaign launched last week with an initial television spot titled, ‘I Count,’ which offers emotional firsthand testimony from a number of HIV/AIDS and other patients who obtain their lifesaving medicines through medical and pharmacy providers participating in 340B, like AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s own AHF Pharmacy.

The 340B TV spot, which is running on FOX and CNN outlets, will run for six weeks in key congressional districts in eight media markets nationwide in states where key members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees HRSA (and, ultimately 340B) reside and represent constituents. Markets where the TV spot is running include: Kalamazoo, MI (Congressman Fred Upton, Chair of Energy & Commerce); Lancaster, PA (Congressman Joe Pitts); Arlington, TX (Congressman Joe Barton); New Port Richey, FL (Congressman Gus Bilirakis); Spokane, WA (Congress Member Cathy Rodgers); Franklin, TN (Congress Member Marsha Blackburn); Henderson, KY (Congressman Ed Whitfield) and Harrisburg, IL (Congressman John Shimkus).

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA), the 340B discount drug pricing program, which was created by Congress in 1992, “…requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible health care organizations/covered entities at significantly reduced prices. The 340B Program enables covered entities to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”

“Despite the fact that 340B represents only two percent of drug purchases nationwide, the pharmaceutical industry has repeatedly tried to gut this prudent and highly effective public health program,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Through our new TV ad campaign, the compelling stories of patients who get their medications through 340B are told firsthand, with individuals telling both their own stories as well as the bigger story that 340B works and doesn’t need fixing or tinkering. In fact, if 340B is cut or if eligibility is reduced or scaled back, more people will turn to the government for help.”

In mid-May of this year drug industry lobbyists tried—unsuccessfully—to insert language in the 21st Century Cures Act that would have drastically limited participation in 340B by safety net providers like AHF.

However, drug pricing advocates and patients who obtain their medications through 340B programs like AHF and other 340B program participants successfully pressed members of Congress, including Fred Upton, (R, MI, 6th District), chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee and Joe Pitts (R, PA 16th District) to block the industry’s move.

“Some members of Congress and the Obama administration in general seem to be more concerned about what pharma thinks than in looking out for their own constituents as well as for safety net providers and their patients,” said Michelle Morgan, AHF’s Director of National Advocacy Campaigns, who spearheaded a protest to oppose changes to 340B that was held in front of PhRMA’s Washington headquarters earlier today. “340B is under constant assault from the industry, which will not stop until it has killed or severely handicapped this program. This is why we are mounting an all out nationwide media and advocacy campaign: to demonstrate the success of 340B in order to preserve and protect this critical program.”

Harris Poll: Only 1 in 10 Americans Thinks Pharma Is “…Honest and Trustworthy.”

And from the industry that brazenly put the word ‘Integrity’ in the name of its pharmaceutical advocacy coalition, a 2013 Harris Poll revealed: “Just one in ten (Americans) say they think … pharma and drug companies (10%) … are generally honest and trustworthy.”

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