More than 30 years ago, Congress enacted the 340B program to enable true safety-net providers to help low-income and other vulnerable patients access more affordable medicines. Today, the lack of accountability and transparency in the program undermines its intent and is leading to ramifications for all. It's time for clear, practical, and achievable solutions that realign the program in the best interests of the safety net.
A new partnership of Community Health Centers, patient, provider and consumer advocates, and leaders from the biopharmaceutical industry have come together with a shared goal: to modernize the 340B program so that it can be a force for good.
ASAP 340B's work is guided by policy principles developed by the organization's founding partners.
"We believe it's time for an honest conversation about the good that 340B can deliver and the reforms needed to ensure we can continue to serve the safety net for generations to come," said National Association of Community Health Centers Interim President and CEO Rachel Gonzales-Hanson. "What underserved and at-risk communities need today are solutions. It's in the name of these communities that we have put aside differences and come together to improve the 340B program. This unlikely alliance reinforces the urgency for action."
"Fixing the 340B program has long been a priority for us. We believe the best way to fix it and make sure the program is benefiting those it's intended to serve is to work with other 340B stakeholders," said Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl. "This partnership marks a historic, united step toward improving the 340B program, and we encourage policymakers and other stakeholders to join us."
"The well-being of communities served by our country's safety-net providers and our ability to promote health equity are at stake," said National Hispanic Medical Association President and CEO Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, MACP. "If we don't act now to modernize the 340B program, underserved communities will be left with fewer health care options, a lack of emergency and other services, and lower quality of care."
Community Health Centers and other safety-net providers are critical to the advancement of health equity. More than 30 million Americans rely on Community Health Centers, which provide medical care in underserved communities and serve all patients regardless of income or insurance status. The 340B program was created to help support these safety-net providers.
Some entities that participate in the program, such as large, well-resourced hospitals, have taken advantage of the program's current lack of clarity at the expense of the patients. Hospitals participating in the 340B program are not required to provide patients a discount on their medicines. At the same time, many of these same hospitals often engage in practices ? such as surprise billing and predatory debt collection ? that hurt vulnerable patients and create significant burdens to them accessing care. It's time for all of us to stand up for the true intent and purpose of the 340B program.
Solutions are needed to re-align the 340B program in the interest of true safety-net providers and the patients and communities they serve. To learn more about ASAP 340B and our policy principles visit us at asap340B.org.
About the Alliance to Save America's 340B Program (ASAP 340B)
The Alliance to Save America's 340B Program (ASAP 340B) is a partnership of Community Health Centers, patient, provider and consumer advocates, and leaders from the biopharmaceutical industry working to improve the 340B program. ASAP 340B is focused on advancing meaningful and achievable changes in support of our nation's safety-net providers and underserved communities. To learn more, visit asap340B.org and follow us on Twitter @asap340B.