‘340C’ program would weaken public health providers’ ability to fight drug industry greed
WASHINGTON (November 30, 2022) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opposes the creation of a new drug discount program, “340C,” for non-hospital community health providers. The push for the new federal program stems from unlawful efforts of drug companies to disable an already existing program, the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which has protected public health for 30 years. Instead of aiding drug company priorities, 340B entities – which comprise the public health safety net in this country – must continue to work together to strengthen and protect the 340B program.
Thirty years ago, Congress created the 340B Program to help nonprofit health providers like charity hospitals and community clinics “stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.” Under 340B, drug companies voluntarily provide discounts to nonprofit providers to gain access to the very profitable Medicaid and Medicare programs. Nonprofit providers use these discounts to provide more and better services to vulnerable patients. The voluntary program greatly benefits the drug industry. Yet, drug companies continue to attack the program to avoid providing discounts.
Drug companies’ latest attack attempts to unlawfully limit where 340B eligible patients can obtain drugs. By limiting the number of eligible pharmacies, drug makers aim to provide fewer discounts to covered entities. The unlawful practice is the subject of numerous lawsuits. Meanwhile, smaller 340B nonprofits face financial hardship from reduced discounts. To avoid harm, some providers hope to create a new program – 340C – to insulate themselves from drug company greed. Their hope is misplaced.
“If there is one thing we have learned, it’s that there is no end to drug industry greed. A new program will not stop industry efforts to eliminate discounts to increase profits. AHF urges 340B providers not to fall for the drug industry’s ‘divide-and-conquer’ trap,” said Tom Myers, AHF General Counsel.
AHF is the largest nonprofit providing HIV/AIDS and STD treatment and care in 16 states, the District Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and has been a 340B participant for nearly twenty years.