An AIDS Healthcare Foundation activist handed out Let it B signs supporting the 340B program during a September 2021 protest in front of U.S. Rep. Scott Peters' (D-Calif.) district office in San Diego.

Exclusive: AIDS Healthcare Foundation Says Re-Opening 340B Law Over Contract Pharmacy Fight Will Backfire

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today criticized efforts to introduce federal legislation to address drug manufacturers’ denials of 340B pricing when covered entities use contract pharmacies. It said the drug industry “will certainly use any legislation as an opportunity to further undermine” the 340B program.

AHF announced its opposition in a statement to 340B Report. It comes on the heels of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and hospital group 340B Health’s recent statements that it might be up to Congress to quash drug manufacturers’ conditions on 340B pricing involving contract pharmacy.

On Feb. 3, NACHC said that “congressional action may be the only solution to the ongoing instability in the 340B program.” A NACHC official explained later that “growing frustration with the slow pace of the litigation” over the manufacturers’ actions “is leading to more of an emphasis on a potential congressional solution.”

On Feb. 1, 340B Health’s president and CEO, also citing “ongoing litigation” that “can take a long time,” said her group “is prepared to go in [the] direction” of Capitol Hill in search of a solution if a path leads there.

Today, AHF said, “Asking Congress to intervene is dangerous move.” The foundation operates services in multiple states to prevent and treat HIV, including pharmacies, managed care and disease management programs, testing programs, wellness centers, dental clinics, and housing programs. It is the force behind the national Let it B campaign aimed at protecting the current 340B program.

“Drug companies, which simply cannot abide reduced profits, have tried unsuccessfully for a number of years to get Congress to amend the statute and weaken the [340B] program,” AHF said. “They have been beaten back by the 340B providers, who have relentlessly shown the benefits of this program.”

“Pharma has now hit on a new strategy—get 340B participants, the public health safety net, to do their dirty work for them,” AHF continued. It said community health centers and rural hospitals under pressure from drug manufacturers’ contract pharmacy-related 340B pricing denials “feel they have no choice but to go to Congress to as for relief.”

“This is exactly what the companies want and intended—to reopen the 340B program, where they can use their immense wealth and lobbying power to further harm the program,” AHF said.

“Members of Congress of both parties depend on these same companies for campaign cash and its extremely naïve to expect a good solution from Congress,” the foundation said. “AHF demands that the government enforce the law and bring these greedy companies to justice.”

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