It’s not just the drug industry stepping up its effort to influence the public and policymakers over the increasingly heated battle over the 340B program.
Groups that represent 340B hospitals and hospital pharmacists have launched a digital advertising campaign “to show policymakers and health care leaders how drug companies’ egregious and unlawful restrictions on 340B contract pharmacies are harming low-income patients, providers, and communities,” a spokesperson for one of the groups said.
The “Protect Patients, Protect 340B” campaign started July 11 and will run for about a month. The sponsors are 340B Health, American Hospital Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, America’s Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Children’s Hospital Association.
Advertisements with messages such as “Cutting 340B means less healthy communities” are appearing on the websites of The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, STAT, and Modern Healthcare. Fox News, the news outlet that many Republicans favor most, is not on the list.
The ads link to protect340bpatients.org, a website that fleshes out the six associations’ 340B positions.
The campaign’s messages include:
- Drug companies cover the cost of 340B drug discounts, not taxpayers.
- A growing number of drug companies are unlawfully restricting access to 340B discounts for hospitals. The Trump and Biden administrations both acted to stop the companies. The drug companies are blocking enforcement of the law.
- Loss of 340B savings makes it harder for hospitals to pay for a wide range of vital community health care services. Community health is suffering. More rural hospitals might need to close.
The groups say the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to (HHS) “must take all available enforcement actions against these unlawful drug company cuts to 340B savings. This includes imposing penalties on all the companies that are ‘knowingly and intentionally’ overcharging 340B hospitals and cutting 340B savings.”
As 340B Report first reported on Tuesday, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) recently launched an ad campaign pushing the message that the 340B program helps big hospitals and pharmacy chains, not patients. This effort included a pricey full-page ad in the A section of the influential Washington Post print issue.