House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) has again denounced the Obama administration’s attempt to change the 340B drug-pricing program by introducing user fees on drug purchases.
The program, which issues drug price discounts for safety net providers such as rural hospitals and specialized treatment centers, has repeatedly come under fire by the pharmaceutical industry.
LOS ANGELES (March 1, 2016) AIDS Healthcare Foundation espouses the statement made by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) condemning the Obama administration’s proposal to finance the 340B program with user fees. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA), the drug-pricing program “…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.”
The fee proposal, first appearing in Obama’s 2012 fiscal budget request, supports a 0.1 percent user fee on doctors, hospitals, and clinics that purchase drugs under 340B. This would generate a projected $7.5 million to run the discount program, adding to the $17.23 million in already appropriated funds. While the fee appears minor, it would unnecessarily burden already disadvantaged safety net providers and the communities they serve. Rep. Rogers emphasizes the financial strain on providers, saying that a user fee would “compound their financial troubles,” and “chips away at the sustainability of these rural hospitals.”
“The 340B program is the lifeblood for community-based non-profit healthcare providers like AHF,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Not only does it allow us to effectively serve our local community, but it also provides a mechanism for AHF to run life-saving clinics around the globe. The program has been consistently assailed by the pharmaceutical industry and would be further weakened with the introduction of user fees.”
Rep. Rogers made previous statements criticizing attempts to finance the management of the 340B program with user fees at a hearing in March 2015.