WASHINGTON (July 21, 2022) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today criticized the trade association for the greediest, most profitable industry on the planet for hypocritically crying out for so-called “drug price fairness” in a full-page ad about the 340B drug pricing program that ran earlier this week in the Washington Post.
The cynical ad was placed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) with a headline reading: “340B is helping patients, BIG hospitals & chain pharmacies. Does that seem fair to patients?” The words were printed in white text on a light green background; however, the first use of the word “patients” was in a faint half-tone of the same green background color, while the word “BIG” was in white in a far larger point size, both diminishing and/or exaggerating their presence in the ad and, by extension, suggesting what AHF asserts is PhRMA’s disingenuous assessment of the “fairness” of 340B.
“PhRMA calling for drug price fairness is like the tobacco industry promoting lung health,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “PhRMA has broken records in spending on lobbyists and political contributions. We see what they’re doing. ‘Distract and deny’ is one of the oldest political tricks in the book. Drug company CEOs paid for this hypocritical slander in the Post ad just as members of the U.S. Congress consider giving a modest amount of authority to Medicare to negotiate drug prices for a handful of drugs. It’s a desperate move, attacking front line nonprofit hospitals and clinics that use the savings from 340B to provide services to rural Americans and many vulnerable populations.”
The irony is that the drug industry supported the expansion of the 340B program so it could get access to the growing Medicaid drug market. Since 2010, drug company sales to Medicaid increased 119% to $79 billion. Total drug company sales in 2020 were $515 billion and global drug company sales were $1.27 trillion.
“The 340B program is an essential resource for the healthcare safety net in the U.S. Savings from the program allow nonprofits and health care providers to stretch federal resources to care for more people who are sick. It costs taxpayers nothing. Drug industry CEOs want to strangle it. Congress should leave it alone—‘Let 340Be!’” added John Hassell, national director of advocacy for AHF.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest provider of HIV primary care in the world, serving in 17 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 44 other countries.