Community Health Centers Call for Added Protections
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Community health centers are calling on state and federal lawmakers for added protections against drug manufactures for drastically cutting them out of a federal drug discount program.
The 340B Drug Pricing program allows health centers to purchase outpatient medication at reduced costs, so they can then provide it to a greater reach of patients while drug companies get reimbursed. But in the past two years, drug producers and third-party prescription drug benefit managers have been restricting centers, threatening their financial stability.
A survey by the National Association of Community Health Centers shows more than half their patients would go without needed medications, including insulin for diabetes patients and inhalers for children with asthma, if they are cut out of the program.
Ben Browning, vice president and CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, explained the importance of the program.
"These contract arrangements are really the lifeblood," Browning contended. "They are the lifeline for a lot of the patients that may not otherwise have access to these reduced-cost, reduced-price medications."
But the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the lobbying arm of the drug-manufacturing industry, countered the program needs to change, claiming there is little to no evidence patients are benefiting. They also are calling for centers to share data in an effort to tamp down on potential fraud and abuse in the system.
Browning argued the centers continue to fill a critical need because many health care providers do not have the financial resources to support an in-house pharmacy. The survey showed 86% of health centers utilize contract pharmacies, allowing them to serve hundreds of ZIP codes.
"Put some protections in law, in regulations, in statute, that said the 340B program is a vital component of the health care system," Browning urged. "This is a vital component of maintaining and securing the safety net."
It is estimated enrolled hospitals and other covered entities in 340B can achieve average savings of 25% to 50% in pharmaceutical purchases. The issue is also playing out in courts with conflicting rulings across the country.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …
Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and toy drives around the country are in full swing. A North Dakota organizer shares some things to …
A federal judge in Nevada has dealt three tribal nations a legal setback in their efforts to stop what could be the construction of the country's larg…
Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association…
Reports from the Insurance Commissioner's office and the state Attorney General reveal an analysis of what they call "the true costs of health care" i…
Health and Wellness
The holiday season is filled with recipes passed down from years before, and feasting with family and friends. But think again before you have …
Connecticut lawmakers are reluctant to approve new emission standards that would require 90% cleaner emissions from internal-combustion engines and re…
Another controversial move in Florida's education system is a proposal to drop sociology, the study of social life and the causes and consequences of …