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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Health Centers Push Back Against Big-Pharma Tactics

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022   

Colorado's community health centers are joining a national effort pushing back against Big Pharma's recent moves making it harder to provide discounted medicines to people living in severe poverty.

Donald Moore, chief executive officer of the Pueblo Community Health Center, said a federal program known as 340B has helped more of Pueblo's Latino community, who experience much higher rates of chronic disease, and more barriers to accessing primary health care.

"We're totally fulfilling the purpose of the legislation," Moore explained. "Which is to stretch our public funding as far as it can go to reach the people most in need, which in our case includes minority populations."

Over the past two years, drug producers and third-party prescription drug benefit managers have been throwing up barriers to the 340B program, according to a new report calling on Congress to add new protections. The industry has claimed discounted medicines are being diverted to patients not eligible under 340B, or savings are not being used to expand access.

Moore noted the law has a dispute-resolution process for determining if health centers are not doing what they are supposed to do. But drug companies and benefit managers are acting unilaterally, adding restrictions and new rules limiting access to discounted medicines at community health centers and their contracted pharmacies.

"They've tried to whittle away at that," Moore contended. "And keep more of the money in their pockets, [rather] than allow those savings to flow down to safety-net providers like community health centers to make sure people have access to medicines that are important to good outcomes for the patients."

The report found 92% of the nation's 1,400 health centers use 340B savings to increase access for low-income and/or rural patients. Moore pointed to a new clinic, which has added 300-400 new patients each month since it opened in January, and six school-based clinics, all made possible in part through savings under 340B.

"These clinics are an important access point to adolescents and young adults. But they do not operate on a profitable basis. And we utilize savings from the 340B program to ensure those access pointed can stay open."


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