The American Hospital Association has again blasted the drug industry’s alliance with community health centers for 340B reform, calling it “another misguided attempt by drug companies to dismantle [340B] so that they can continue to pad their billion-dollar bottom lines.”
AHA, the nation’s largest hospital trade group, last week published a blog post and related talking points about Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the National Association of Community Health Centers’ 10 principles to guide federal 340B legislation. PhRMA and NACHC launched their collaborative effort, called ASAP 340B, on March 9. They said they want to ensure that 340B program “benefits patients and true safety-net providers.” PhRMA and NACHC’s plan would slash disproportionate share hospital participation in 340B and cut DSH hospital access to 340B pricing.
“The self-serving policy proposals outlined by this new alliance directly contravene Congress’ oft-demonstrated intent to preserve the 340B program over the last 30 years,” AHA Health Analytics & Policy Director Bharath Krishnamurthy wrote. “Those most impacted by this coalition’s assault on 340B are the millions of patients who will lose access to lifesaving medicines and to other vital health care services supported by the program.”
“The PhRMA-led coalition’s list of proposals cannot be viewed as a serious attempt to ‘save’ or ‘modernize’ the 340B program,” AHA said.
AHA’s talking points about those proposals say:
- 340B is already a “true” safety-net program.
- Patients already directly benefit from 340B savings.
- 340B patient eligibility is well-defined and audited. Drug companies are not.
- Drug companies have taken the law into their own hands to undermine contract pharmacy arrangements, which are a critical component of the 340B program.
- Pharmacy benefit managers and commercial payers are taking advantage of 340B savings.
- Hospital eligibility requirements are well-defined.
- 340B child sites promote access to care for all patients.
- 340B claims reporting should minimize provider burden.
- 340B hospitals already report a wide range of information. Drug companies do not.
- Drug companies have thwarted 340B oversight at every turn.
“The mission of the 340B program is to improve access to care for underserved patients and communities around the country,” AHA’s blog post concludes. “No amount of half-truths, misleading statements, baseless attacks or thinly veiled efforts to scale back the program’s benefits by drug companies will deter hospitals from delivering on this mission to all patients and communities they serve.”