Separating the 340B drug discount program into one for hospitals and another for non-hospital healthcare providers would be the wrong response to drug company denials of 340B pricing when providers use contract pharmacies, AIDS Healthcare Foundation said yesterday.
“A new program will not stop industry efforts to eliminate discounts to increase profits,” AHF General Counsel Tom Myers said in Nov. 30 news release. 340B entities instead “must continue to work together to strengthen and protect the 340B program,” AHF said.
Advocates for Community Health, a national community health center association launched last year, is in the early stage of a campaign to urge Congress to create a separate drug discount program called 340C open to health centers and other unspecified covered entities.
According to a description of draft legislation, in exchange for reinvesting 340C drug discount revenues “into program operations, patient care, and other appropriate and beneficial activities, as determined by the covered entity leadership, to the populations served” and being subject to audits, 340C entities would be entitled to:
- reimbursement at wholesale acquisition cost for all Medicaid drugs
- protection against discriminatory network and reimbursement actions by health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers
- use of contract pharmacies as necessary.
“The 340B program enables 30 million patients living in the nation’s most underserved communities to access care at health centers every year,” ACH CEO Amanda Pears Kelly said in a statement to 340B Report this morning. Unfortunately, the program is being eroded by policy and legal challenges.”
“Without a sound path forward, it is those underserved patients that will suffer the most,” Pears Kelly continued. “Working with our members, ACH proposed the 340C concept to maintain the core principles and intentions of the program—to support access to care for underserved patients and communities—while also creating protections and assurances for health centers and other covered entities leveraging the 340B program, in exchange for transparency and accountability.”
“We are thrilled by the positive response we have received from many stakeholders in the 340B space as well as champions on Capitol Hill,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to work with these partners to refine and advance the 340C proposal in the future.”