May 15 Hearing on 340B

CONSUMER GROUPS BACK 340B — More than 60 patient groups are urging congressional leaders to support the federal drug discount program that’s been the subject of intensifying congressional scrutiny ahead of another Senate HELP Committee hearing this morning.
Families USA, Doctors for America, Public Citizen and others write that they “welcome vigorous oversight” but are urging lawmakers to “reject any proposals that weaken this important tool for lowering drug prices.” It’s one of the first times that consumer groups have taken a stand on 340B, which drugmakers paint as a program growing out of control. Pharma companies were required to give more than $10 billion in discounts on drugs to hospitals and clinics serving low-income populations last year.

Patients advocacy groups 340B letter to Congress:  

May 14, 2018
 
The Honorable Paul Ryan Speaker
The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
 
Dear Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer:
 
For more than 25 years, the 340B drug discount program has allowed safety net providers to purchase discounted drugs, allowing them to enhance their services to millions of low income and vulnerable patients. The statutory intent of the program is to allow 340B providers “to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.” The undersigned patient and consumer advocacy organizations are compelled to speak out in strong support of the 340B drug pricing program. We stand together to oppose any efforts to diminish the 340B program’s proven ability to help serve vulnerable patients and communities.
 
340B is vital to the health care safety net as it enables trusted community providers to fulfill their missions. In many communities – particularly low-income rural and urban areas – safety net providers are the sole pathways to affordable health care. Safety net providers use 340B savings for direct health care services, drug adherence and management programs, and education and prevention programs, among many others, to benefit their patients and the communities they serve. These services are often geared towards mental health programs, HIV adherence programs, education and prevention programs, substance abuse treatment, holistic care for the disabled, integrated cancer care, care for those with serious chronic illness like kidney disease, and medication management, among others.
 
We are troubled by assertions that the program has grown too large, suggestions that safety net providers are “profiting” from the 340B program, and allegations that safety net providers are not truly serving underserved patients. As advocates for patients and consumers, we support transparency in the program to ensure that 340B is meeting the needs of patients. However, we cannot support any proposals branded as enhancing “transparency and oversight” that would have the effect of reducing the number of safety net providers in the program and, in turn, the number of patients served.
 
As policymakers prepare to consider changes to the 340B program, we urge Congress to reject any proposals that would have the effect of:
 Limiting access to affordable, clinically appropriate, pharmaceuticals for low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and other vulnerable patients
 Reducing access to care by cutting safety net providers out of the program
 Curtailing the ability of providers to use 340B savings to reach more eligible patients and provide more comprehensive services
 
We are committed to patients and recognize the fragile nature of our nation’s safety net. We ask that you join us in supporting, not weakening, the 340B program. To discuss further, please contact Shawn Gremminger at sgremminger@familiesusa.org.
 
Sincerely,
 
Families USA
ACCSES
ADAP Advocacy Association
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Academy of Nursing
American Association on Health and Disability
American Foundation for the Blind
American Muslim Health Professionals
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Being Alive San Diego
Big Cities Health Coalition
Black AIDS Institute
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for Public Policy Priorities
Clinical Social Work Association
Community Access National Network (CANN)
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
Doctors for America
Entre Hermanos
Epilepsy Foundation
Farmworker Justice
First Focus
Gay Men of African Descent, Inc.
GRIOT Circle
Hemophilia Federation of America
Hep B United
Hepatitis B Foundation
Lakeshore Foundation
Lupus Foundation of America
Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network
NAACP
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Mental Health Program Director (NASMHPD)
National Black Justice Coalition
National Dental Association
National Hemophilia Foundation
National Indian Health Board
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
National WIC Association
National Women’s Health Network
NC Community AIDS Fund
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.
Not Dead Yet
POCAAN
Project Kindle
Public Citizen
Religious Institute
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  
cc: The Honorable Greg Walden, Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee
The Honorable Frank Pallone, Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee
The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Chairman, Senate HELP Committee
The Honorable Patty Murray, Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee
The Honorable Orrin Hatch, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
The Honorable Ron Wyden, Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee