Who Tells the 340B Story?

by Admin | August 15, 2022 2:43 pm

By Maureen Testoni


August 15, 2022– The last time I quoted from the musical “Hamilton” in this blog was two years ago, when the attendees of the virtual 340B Coalition Summer Conference were grappling with “a world turned upside down” by a global pandemic and economic decline. As I reflect on the in-person summer conference that we held earlier this month, I am reminded of a lyric from the finale of that musical: “Who tells your story?”

The importance of telling the 340B story was a common theme over the three days of this year’s 340B Coalition Summer Conference[2], held in the Washington, D.C., area for the first time since 2019. In my opening remarks to the conference, I noted how 340B has been a 30-year success story of ensuring access to patient care for people who have low incomes and for residents of rural communities across the country. To help maintain that success for decades to come, 340B hospitals, health centers, and clinics must demonstrate how 340B continues to be such a vital element of the health care safety net today.

“I urge you to keep documenting and publicizing how you use your 340B savings to help care for patients in need – and what happens to that patient care when there are barriers to those savings,” I told the more than 1,900 conference attendees. “Lawmakers, judges, government officials, reporters, and health policy experts hear you when you speak up and speak out. And your messaging on behalf of your patients is resonating with those who need to hear it the most.”

Top Health Officials Echo the Call

I was not the only speaker urging summer conference attendees to tell their 340B stories. Keynote addresses from Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Director Carole Johnson, HRSA Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) Director Emeka Egwim, and former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams all echoed the call for 340B covered entities to publicly demonstrate how they and their patients rely on 340B:

I could not agree more. Every time a 340B hospital completes or updates its 340B Impact Profile[3], invites an elected official for a site visit, writes an opinion piece about 340B, or works with local media outlets to spotlight their patient care efforts, it is telling the 340B story in a very effective way. Many hospitals have prepared these profiles, and many others need to follow suit. Time and again, I have seen members of Congress using the information in these documents to support and defend 340B in the face of misinformation from those who seek to shrink it.

Moving Forward Amid Challenges

The conference gave attendees the first chance in three years to gather as a 340B community in the nation’s capital, reconnect with their peers, and share best practices. The event featured more than 50 sessions with more than 125 expert panelists covering a wide range of 340B topics, including operations and compliance, community and specialty pharmacy, health equity, and more.

Several sessions focused on the 18 drug companies that have imposed unlawful limits on access to 340B discounts for drugs dispensed at community and specialty pharmacies. These restrictions remain one of the most significant challenges facing covered entities and their patients. A series of special conference roundtables enabled hospitals, community health centers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics, and others to compare notes on how these limitations are affecting operations and care.

The conference gave us an opportunity to recommit as a 340B community to presenting a united front against these drug company actions. Our efforts to date have helped initiate federal enforcement actions against many of the 18 companies and have bolstered the government’s defense in federal courts of its 340B authority on this issue. We continue to call for the government to pursue all available actions against noncompliant companies, including imposing steep federal fines on those companies that refuse to restore 340B pricing.

Celebrating 30 Years and Counting

Despite the challenges facing 340B, there remains much to celebrate about the three decades that 340B has enabled care for millions of patients. This was evident at a special gathering we held the opening night of the conference to mark the upcoming 30th anniversary of 340B.

I was joined at the event by Nicole Shoquist, director of pharmacy at JPS Health, a public hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and R. Logan Yoho, director of pharmacy at Hopewell Health Centers in Logan, Ohio. They spoke about how covered entities such as theirs that have participated in 340B since the early days of the program have enriched patients’ lives and improved the overall health of the communities they serve. I noticed many nodding heads in the room belonging to the representatives of many safety-net providers that are part of this shared history.

Together we will keep telling these 340B stories as we look forward with optimism about all the patients whom 340B will help in the years and decades ahead.


Maureen Testoni is the President and CEO of 340B Health

  1. [Image]: https://340binformed.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Adams-Testoni.jpg
  2. 340B Coalition Summer Conference: https://www.340bsummerconference.org/
  3. 340B Impact Profile: https://www.340bhealth.org/members/advocacy-tools/impact-profiles/profile-page/
  4. [Image]: https://340binformed.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Maureen-Headshot-Square-Web.jpg

Source URL: https://340binformed.org/2022/08/who-tells-the-340b-story/