AHF Condemns PhRMA’s ‘Undue Influence’ on Congress; ‘Politico’ Ads Expose Industry’s Efforts to Kneecap 340B Drug Program

In Featured by Rachel Mills

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the 340B drug pricing program Wednesday, July 11th. PhRMA, the drug industry trade group, ran online ads in Politico today, falsely claiming, ‘… every stakeholder has raised concerns with the 340B program.’ 

In fact, PhRMA’s call for Congress to ‘fix 340B’ is a solution in search of a problem. For the past 25 years, the 340B drug pricing program, enacted by Congress as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, has helped provide low-cost medications and better health outcomes for millions of Americans and the non-profit clinics and hospitals who serve them.

WASHINGTON (July 9, 2018) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is once again sounding an alarm about the oversized and undue influence that the drug industry, its trade group, PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), and its lobbyists have in Washington and on Congressional hearings to the detriment of both the American public and the American taxpayer.

On Wednesday, July 11th, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the 340B drug pricing program, enacted by Congress as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. 340B has helped provide low-cost medications and better health outcomes for millions of Americans and the non-profit clinics and hospitals who serve them.

Today, ahead of the Wednesday hearings, PhRMA ran two deceptive online ads on Politico Pro, falsely claiming that, “Virtually every stakeholder has raised concerns with the 340B program” concluding “…it’s time for Congress to fix the 340B program.”

“The drug industry’s shameless, bare-knuckled and deep-pocketed push for Congress to ‘fix’ the 340B program is a solution in search of a problem. 340B is a program that works well and has for over twenty-five years. PhRMA’s deceptive ads in today’s Politico Pro clearly show that the industry is the one pulling the strings on all of these congressional hearings and underscore the undue influence the industry has on Congress,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF President. “In fact, the drug industry’s actual intent is to kneecap this lifesaving drug program to further their profits, and we condemn them for such harmful and unbridled greed.”

“PhRMA is ‘going boldly’ in its smear campaign against the lifesaving 340B drug pricing program. Its political contributions and their hoard of lobbyists have now convinced the US Congress to call five public hearings to attack a program that costs taxpayers nothing,” said John Hassell, National Director of Advocacy for AHF. “The 340B program amounts to only 1.3 percent of drug manufacturers’ US sales, yet the drug companies laughably blame their obscene prices on the 340B program that keeps the lights on in clinics and hospitals that take care of the most vulnerable people and communities nationwide.”

Since 1992, the 340B Discount Drug Program has allowed “safety-net providers” and certain qualifying hospitals to buy prescription drugs at discounted prices from drug makers.  This allows them to provide critically need services, many of which are not reimbursed by any insurance.   At Ryan White HIV clinics, like AHF’s, the savings is used to pay for HIV testing, linkage-to-care, retention coordination, and case management.

Some Key Points on the 340B Program

  • The 340B Program is a bipartisan program that cost taxpayers nothing. The 340B Program simply allows eligible health care providers to purchase prescription drugs at discounted prices from pharmaceutical manufacturers.  As a condition for being able to sell drugs to the multi-billion-dollar Medicaid program, drug makers agree to offer 340B discounts to a discrete group of eligible providers. It’s a fair deal.
  • 340B also only accounts for only 3 percent of the drug companies’ market share in the U.S.,so the program is small and has minimal impact to drug companies’ bottom line. But, regardless, the pharmaceutical industry has nonetheless targeted the program.
  • AHF calls on Congress to leave 340B alone.  AHF calls on 340B non-profit health care providers to urgently contact their members of Congress to reject pharmaceutical industry’s legislative plot to blow up 340B.
  • In February of this year, AHF formally rolled out their ‘Let340B’ national advocacy and media campaign to preserve and protect the lifesaving program.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 931,000 individuals in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.

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