WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--340B Drug Pricing Program advocates from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) stepped up their criticism of Congressional leaders following the release yesterday of a hit-piece from the House Energy and Commerce Committee masquerading as a so-called investigation. “This biased report was bought and paid for by big drug companies whose only interest is further increasing their profits at the expense of safety net providers who care for countless patients across the country,” said Michael Weinstein, President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
For the past year, Republican members of the Energy & Commerce Committee have been leading a witch hunt at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry and its lobbyists to try to find hints of wrong-doing on the part of safety net providers participating in the 340B Program. The 340B program was enacted by Congress as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 to allow designated safety net medical providers, called “covered entities,” to purchase prescription outpatient drugs directly from pharmaceutical manufacturers at discounted prices.
As a discount drug program, 340B costs federal taxpayers and the government nothing—the drug price discounts come directly from participating pharmaceutical companies. Congress itself expressed that the goal of the program is “to enable [covered entities] to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”1
But the very success of the program over the past twenty-five years has made it a target of drug makers.
Pharmaceutical companies have come to see the discounts they offer to non-profit providers and hospitals as a threat to their already excessive profits and have lobbied their allies in Congress—many of whom receive generous campaign contributions from them—to criticize and attack the program. Despite ample evidence provided to the Committee by covered entities showing that the 340B Program functions well and exactly as Congress intended, the Committee issued a slanted and unfairly critical document that mischaracterizes the way the program operates, painting an inaccurate portrait of safety net providers.
“The Republican leaders of the Committee didn’t even bother to show a draft of the report to their Democrat colleagues before releasing it to the public. This shows that it’s a partisan political work and not a true unbiased evaluation of the program,” said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs for AHF.
“340B has been—and continues to be a remarkable success. It allows covered entities to leverage discounted drug prices to stretch our limited federal funding,” continued Mr. Weinstein. “And most remarkable of all, it costs taxpayers nothing; the program only requires drug makers to offer price breaks to safety net providers. This report is the result of greed infecting policy, nothing more.”
“The results of the 340B program speak for themselves,” added AHF’s Myers. “And the truth about the 340B program is very different than the story told by the pharmaceutical industry and their allies and the fiction contained in this Committee report won’t change that.”
For more information, visit www.Let340B.org
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 855,000 individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.
1 House Report No. 102–384(II), September 22, 1992, Page 12.