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Press Release

AIDS Healthcare Foundation to Sound Alarm That Important Lifesaving Drug Program Is Under Attack

AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Posted on: 21 Feb 18

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will sound an alarm at a San Diego press conference Wednesday that a nationwide drug pricing program vital to the country’s health care safety net – and its HIV/AIDS response – is under attack under the guise of ‘reform.’ The press conference takes place Wednesday, February 21 at 10:30am in the Pointe Room at the Hotel del Coronado, where the 340B Coalition Winter Conference is being held.

At the 340B Coalition Winter Conference, a meeting at which various organizations come to share best practices about how to maximize the benefits to the 340B Program, AHF is calling on groups that use the program to protect and defend it against legislation that would limit qualified, non-profit health care providers from serving vulnerable populations.

WHAT:      

PRESS CONFERENCE—advocates, lawyers, care providers and patients to expose and counter attacks on the 340B drug discount program.

 
WHEN:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:30 am

 
WHERE:

During the 340B Coalition Winter Conference

Hotel del Coronado, Pointe Room

1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
 
WHO:

Jeffrey Blend, Assistant General Counsel, AHF

John Hassell, National Director of Advocacy, AHF

Tracy Jones, National Director of Advocacy Campaigns for AHF

Joey Terrill, AHF patient & AHF Director of Global Advocacy & Community Partnerships

Terry Summers, San Diego resident & community advocate

Jolene LaSalle, San Diego resident, community advocate and a member of FLUX, a national division of AHF dedicated to creating safe spaces for Trans* and Gender non-conforming people

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Imara Canady, AHF Communications & Community Engagement, Imara.Canady@aidshealth.org +1.954.952.0258 m
Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications, +1.323.791.5526 m gedk@aidshealth.org

“The time is now for all champions of preserving a health care safety net to tell the U.S. Congress to reject the pharmaceutical industry’s plot to blow up the 340B Discount Drug Pricing Program,” said Michael Weinstein,AHF President,in a statement.

Already, legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would restrict and hamper the program. U.S. Representative Scott Peters (D-CA, 52nd District), who represents the San Diego district where the 340B conference is meeting, and U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN, 8th District) introduced federal legislation (H.R. 4710) attacking the 340B program—a program which costs the government and taxpayers nothing—by placing a moratorium on certain hospitals from applying to use the program.

“This legislation is the first step to dismantle the 340B program, inspired by the pharmaceutical industry,” continued Weinstein. “It’s the first swing of a wrecking ball designed to tear down 340B, which supports the health care safety net for millions of Americans.”

Since 1992, the 340B Discount Drug Program has allowed “safety-net providers” and certain qualifying hospitals to buy prescription drugs at discounted prices from drug makers. This allows them to provide critically need services, many of which are not reimbursed by any insurance. At Ryan White HIV clinics, like AHF's, the savings is used to pay for HIV testing, linkage-to-care, retention coordination, and case management.

“Smaller safety net clinics, like AHF’s, are concerned with any attempt to alter the rules or guidelines, because those rules would harm Ryan White HIV clinics’ ability to treat those who cannot pay. Pharma and certain members of Congress say they are trying to go after the bigger hospitals. Any rule that affects the big hospitals can harm HIV/AIDS clinics that use the 340B program. Harm to one is harm to all,” concluded Weinstein.

“I am very dismayed that the 340B PAUSE Act, as H.R. 4710 is known, is sponsored by Congressman Scott Peters,” said Terry Summers, a client at one of San Diego’s AHF Healthcare Centers who will speak at the Wednesday press conference. “This is a reminder to the Congressman: On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, I sat in your Washington, DC office along with other consumers and constituents. We were part of AIDS Watch. You made a promise to us that you would protect programs like 340B. You also came a San Diego POZabilities event last year and spoke of your concern in protecting programs and services for those living with HIV. You made us a promise. I hope you remember this and stick to that and not to Big Pharma, which seems to have persuaded you. I urge the congressman to pull his support of H.R. 4710 and persuade his colleagues in Congress that this is NOT the direction we want to go.”

Some Key Points on the 340B Program

  • The 340B Program is a bipartisan program costs that tax payers nothing. The 340B Program simply allows eligible health care providers to purchase prescription drugs at discounted prices from pharmaceutical manufacturers. As a condition for being able to sell drugs to the multi-billion-dollar Medicaid program, drug makers agree to offer 340B discounts to a discrete group of eligible providers. It’s a fair deal.
  • 340B also only accounts for only 2.8 percent of the drug companies’ market share in the U.S., so the program is small and has minimal impact to drug companies’ bottom line. But, regardless, the pharmaceutical industry has nonetheless targeted the program.
  • AHF calls on Congress to leave 340B alone. AHF calls on 340B non-profit health care providers to urgently contact their members of Congress to reject pharmaceutical industry’s legislative plot to blow up 340B.
  • During the conference, advocates for the 340B program from AHF will also formally roll out their ‘LetItB’ national advocacy and media campaign to preserve and protect the lifesaving program.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 872,000 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.

For information on the campaign to preserve 340B, please visit: www.let340B.org

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180220006686/en/

Business Wire
www.businesswire.com

Last updated on: 21/02/2018

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