Patients, Consumers, and Providers Urge Congress to Support 340B

by Admin | May 15, 2018 12:38 pm

May 15, 2018—A broad coalition of patient and consumer advocacy groups urged congressional leaders yesterday to join them “in supporting, not weakening, the 340B program.” The 61 groups made the appeal as Congress debates a variety of proposals to alter the program and on the eve of a Senate committee hearing this morning on the drug discount program.

In their May 14 letter[1], the groups said, “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.” They expressed concern about “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.”

Meanwhile, on the day of the hearing, the 340B Coalition, a united front of safety-net healthcare providers that participate in 340B that includes 340B Health, sent a separate appeal to Congress to protect 340B[2]. The 10 coalition organizations were joined by AIDS United and the Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access. The letter notes: “At a time when Americans are struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs, we are concerned that Congress may consider legislation that would alter the 340B program without fully appreciating the potential impact it could have on vulnerable patients and the safety-net providers who serve them.”

In their May 14 letter, the patient and consumer advocacy groups said they “support transparency in the program to ensure that 340B is meeting the needs of patients.”

“However,” they continued, “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.”

“We stand together to oppose any efforts to diminish the 340B program’s proven ability to help serve vulnerable patients and communities,” the groups said. “Given the importance of this program to safety net providers and the patients they serve, we caution that legislation that includes changes to the 340B program could negatively impact patients,” they continued. “Efforts to alter the congressional intent of the law or otherwise dramatically narrow the 340B program would ultimately decrease access to affordable quality health care for vulnerable populations.” They urged Congress to reject any proposals that would:

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  1. In their May 14 letter:
  2. a separate appeal to Congress to protect 340B:
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