AHF To Congressman Peters: Drop Your Sponsorship of 340B Legislation Tainted by Indictment of Rep. Chris Collins

In Featured by Rachel Mills

AHF renews its call for Rep. Scott Peters to drop support for the PAUSE Act, a law designed to protect pharma profits at the expense of nonprofit hospitals.

WASHINGTON (August 27, 2018) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today again demanded U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) drop his sponsorship of H.R. 4710, a bill designed to help drug industry profits and which will harm nonprofit safety net hospitals participating in the 340B drug discount program. The bill, also known as the PAUSE Act, is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the leading voice in Congress to gut the lifesaving drug pricing program. Collins previously also introduced 340B legislation that would have directly benefited a drug company in which he is a major shareholder.

Rep. Collins was recently indicted on charges of insider trading related to drug company stocks and lying to law enforcement agents about the crime. Following the indictment, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan removed Collins from the House Energy & Commerce Committee until the case has run its course. Collins subsequently also suspended his reelection campaign.

“The indictment of Rep. Collins on drug company insider trading charges merely confirms what AHF has long argued—that efforts to ‘reform’ the 340B program are really just pharma-backed efforts to kneecap and ultimately destroy this worthy program in order to help protect pharma’s outsized profits,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF.  As written, the PAUSE Act would prohibit additional eligible hospitals from taking advantage of the 340B program and impose additional red tape and administrative burdens on the hospitals.

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

According to 340B Health, three-quarters of rural hospitals (74%) said they used 340B savings to keep their doors open and preserve access to care for their patients and communities. See attached 340B Health report at this link.

Some Key Points on the 340B Program

  • The 340B Program is a bipartisan program that costs 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 nonprofit health care providers to urgently contact their members of Congress to reject the pharmaceutical industry’s legislative plot to blow up 340B.
  • In February of this year, AHF formally rolled out its ‘Let340B’ national advocacy and media campaign to preserve and protect the lifesaving program.

AHF previously asked Rep. Peters to drop his sponsorship of H.R. 4710, citing its harmful effects. Others, including the Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access Coalition and the American Hospital Association, also issued press statements and letters in December 2017 and January 2018 urging legislators to drop their support and sponsorship of H.R. 4710.

However, Congressman Peters, whose own reelection campaigns have taken more than $100,000 from drug companies, has not budged.

“The indictment of Rep. Collins blows any cover that people looking to change the 340B program are only interested in ‘transparency’ or ‘efficiency.’ The effort to change 340B is a pharma-backed effort to reduce or eliminate it. At this point, one can only conclude from Rep. Peters’ continuing sponsorship of the PAUSE Act that he does not oppose this effort,” said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs for AHF.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 968,000 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 on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

 

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