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340B Supports Essential Hospital Services

By Rick Pollack
November 3, 2017

Millions of Americans worry about the high costs of life-saving prescription drugs. That’s why 25 years ago, Congress created the 340B Drug Pricing Program to help hospitals expand access to prescription drugs and support essential services for our most vulnerable patients.

The program constitutes less than 3% of the more than $450 billion in U.S. annual drug purchases. Because it is funded by drug manufacturer discounts, not federal dollars, it doesn’t cost the government or taxpayers one penny – but it makes a big difference to patients.

We’re deeply disappointed in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ recent decision to cut payments to hospitals participating in 340B that will put needed prescription drugs further out of reach, and dramatically threaten access to health care for many, including the uninsured, the elderly, those with chronic conditions and the disabled.

Contrary to the Administration’s claims, this policy change does nothing to address the stated goal of reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals, and would actually cause increases in some Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs.

We led the effort to circulate letters signed by a majority of both houses of Congress calling on the Administration to reconsider this policy and recognize the need for the 340B program to continue at full strength. CMS’ decision goes against the will of the Congress, and Congress must intervene to rein them in. We look forward to working with Congress to address this issue. Stay tuned for further updates.

The AHA will also be leading a coalition of other hospital groups and members to pursue litigation to prevent these draconian cuts to payments for 340B drugs from taking effect. We’ve heard from you, our members, how vital the 340B program is – and we’ll do whatever we can to defend it.

Please join our fight and contact your members of Congress and urge them to support 340B. This program must be protected so that hospitals can continue to provide quality care and services for the neediest patients.

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: 340B, Drug Pricing Program, Medicare, access, regulation

Richard J. (Rick) Pollack is the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.



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