"As a 400,000 strong nationwide advocacy organization for older Americans, RetireSafe continues to be vigilant in its work to ensure that they have affordable access to the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare services that they paid into every month of their working lives and that our government promised them would be waiting for them when they retired. This affordability and access is threatened due to the misuse of a government program (labeled 340 B) that was meant as a safety net for the uninsured and indigent but has developed into a revenue source for hospitals. We have joined the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR 340B) to support the fight against this misuse of government funds.
The access problem results from the closing of many physician based service centers due to their inability to compete with hospitals and other facilitates who offer this service and prescriptions at reduced prices based on the hospitals ability to obtain 340 B subsidies for patients who were never intended to qualify under the original 340 B program. When service centers close choices and options are limited and older Americans suffer, especially those who live in rural communities.
It’s wrong when a hospital or other facility makes substantial profits by misusing a government program which was meant for those with no insurance or lower incomes. It increases the cost of healthcare and drains our nation’s resources. You know something is wrong when new consulting businesses spring up just to teach organizations how to take advantage of the 340 B program.
RetireSafe has pushed for finding and stopping fraud in Medicare. It’s estimated that almost 10% of every dollar spent is wasted due to inefficiency, fraud and abuse. If Medicare isn’t getting reimbursed as it should be, if government funds are being paid to private organizations for prescriptions that don’t qualify for a discount, it hurts our healthcare costs just as much as a crook who submits a fraudulent claim.
If we need to better define the regulations, then let’s do it, if we need to better monitor those organizations who use 340 B, then let’s do it, if we need to change the program so it fulfills its original goals, then let’s do it . What we can’t do is stand idly by while an important government program is misused.
We owe it those uninsured and low income Americans to fix this program. It is these especially vulnerable, often rural living, older Americans that will suffer most if these changes to 340 B are not made."
Alliance Grows Amid Rising Concern Over 340B Drug Discount Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 16, 2013) —The Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (“AIR 340B”) today announced the addition of five organizations to its coalition, which is dedicated to reforming and strengthening the 340B program. The Society for Women’s Health Research, The Grange, RetireSafe, The Global Healthy Living Foundation, and Janssen have recently joined the Alliance, whose purpose is to strengthen and reform the drug discount program established by Congress in 1992 to serve low income, uninsured patients. Since launching in May, the Alliance has grown to fifteen organizations. Founding Alliance members, listed below, include patient advocacy groups, clinical care providers and biopharmaceutical innovators.
In announcing its membership in the Alliance, the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) stated: “We believe that the 340B program is vital to ensuring that indigent women in the United States have access to quality health care and medications. SWHR believes the 340B program should be reformed to reflect the original intent of Congress and to ensure that patients who qualify under the program retain access to these medications.”
“AIR 340B is proud to be joined by these prominent national organizations in our campaign,” said Tim Carey, Policy Director for the Alliance. “These groups represent the widest range of stakeholder interests in the 340B program, from concern over access to health services in rural areas, to direct effects on patients’ medication costs, access to women’s and specialty health services, and the negative consequences of cost-shifting within the marketplace. The broad diversity in perspectives within our AIR 340B member organizations underscores the critical importance and large impact of the 340B program, and demonstrates again why reform, transparency, accountability and oversight are necessary to ensure the 340B program remains a sustainable program for patients in need.”
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA)
Community Oncology Alliance (COA)
Eli Lilly and Company
Global Healthy Living Foundation
National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF)
Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA)
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
Congress created the 340B program in 1992 to help uninsured indigent patients gain better access to prescription medicines. This program, as originated, provided discounts to outpatient facilities for the purpose of sustaining certain services to this population. 340B is important today and going forward for the many patients who are dependent on this program. This white paper examines the history and original intent of the program as well as highlights key findings to help policymakers ensure that the 340B program meets its stated purpose and to provide a roadmap for next steps to be considered.
"When a private oncology practice in Memphis formed a partnership with a nearby hospital in late 2011, the organizations proclaimed that the deal would “transform cancer care” in the region.
What they did not emphasize was that the deal would also create a windfall for them worth millions of dollars a year, courtesy of an obscure federally mandated drug discount program.
The program, known as 340B, requires most drug companies to provide hefty discounts — typically 20 to 50 percent — to hospitals and clinics that treat low-income and uninsured patients.
But despite the seemingly admirable goal, the program is now under siege, the focus of a fierce battle between powerful forces — the pharmaceutical industry, which wants to rein in the discounts, and the hospitals, which say they might have to cut services without them."
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 23, 2013)—A coalition of patient advocacy groups, clinical care providers and biopharmaceutical innovators today announced the launch of the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR 340B), an organization dedicated to reforming and strengthening the 340B program to ensure it directly supports access to outpatient prescription medicines for uninsured indigent patients. The Alliance’s website, http://340breform.org, will serve as a central clearinghouse for news and information about the 340B drug discount program and ongoing efforts by stakeholders to ensure it is meeting Congressional goals.
Congress created the 340B program in 1992 to help uninsured indigent patients gain better access to prescription medicines. The program requires biopharmaceutical manufacturers to provide discounts on outpatient prescription medicines to health care facilities that meet certain requirements. As implemented however, most 340B facilities are not required to pass these savings on to patients and in many cases entities profit significantly from both uninsured and insured patients. Alliance members believe that the 340B program is critically important to uninsured indigent patients and that attention is needed to address concerns over whether the program has deviated from its original purpose and is leading to unintended consequences for patients. Reform, transparency, accountability and oversight are needed to ensure that the 340B program remains a sustainable program for those who need it.