USC Pimps out its Researchers to the Greedy Drug Industry

In Featured, News by Ged Kenslea

The University of Southern California recently published a report attacking the lifesaving 340B Drug Discount Program while failing to report its own ties to the drug industry.

The paper included alleged concerns about safety net hospitals’ use of the program. It also questioned the program’s oversight, transparency, and growth. The paper also insinuated that proper use of the program by hospitals somehow nefariously ”tests the bounds” of the program.

The 340B drug discount program is working exactly as intended by the law. It provides nonprofit medical providers additional funds to perform services while costing the federal government nothing.  AHF condemns USC’s questionable motives and their independence as they join big pharma’s attack on 340B.

The 340B program is simple. In exchange for giving drug companies access to the $68 billion per year market for drugs in the Medicaid program, drug companies agree to provide discounts to safety net medical providers like charity hospitals, HIV/AIDS clinics, and black lung clinics.

Drug companies do not lose money from the 340B program; they simply make a little less.

Now, however, the drug companies want to renege on this deal, which has been highly profitable for them. They want to keep the money from Medicaid and ACA expansion but cut the 340B program.

One of this country’s most profitable industries is trying to paint nonprofit medical providers as somehow “abusing” this program, and they are using institutions such as USC to whitewash their bad faith arguments.

Dressed up in an Academic Gown

With the majority of USC’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics’ advisory board having ties to big pharma, and a history of hiding donors, it’s no surprise an attack on 340B came from USC. The current board consists of nine senior executives from the drug industry.

  • Gavin S. Herbert, Chair Emeritus, Allergan Inc
  • Leigh Anne Leas, Vice President and North America Head, Public Policy, Novartis
  • Johanna Mercier, Chief Commercial Officer, Gilead Sciences, Inc.
  • Jennifer Taubert, MBA, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson

“We all know the drug industry pays off politicians with campaign cash, killing any meaningful drug pricing reforms. This so-called report, dressed up in an academic gown, reveals that USC faculty and staff are pimping themselves out to greedy drug companies,” said John Hassell, national director of advocacy for AHF.

While costing taxpayers nothing, 340B is working as intended and will continue to help enable safety net providers to fund services and care for uninsured and underinsured patients, ultimately saving lives.

Help protect the 340B program.  Go to this link and send a message to Members of the U.S Congress to defend 340B.

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