A group financed by the pharmaceutical industry is hosting a meeting today on the 340B Drug Pricing Program with the goal of “Preserving the True Safety Net.” But what the meeting really will be about is the pharmaceutical industry – with their skyrocketing prescription drug prices and huge profits – discussing how they can continue to disparage a program with a 25-year history of increasing access to medications and health care services for people in vulnerable communities.

Let’s look at some of the facts to determine who is trying to “Preserve the True Safety Net.”

America’s hospitals and health systems:

  • Care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.
    • In 2014, hospitals across the U.S. provided more than $42.8 billion in uncompensated care.
    • Hospitals have provided more than $500 billion in uncompensated care since 2000.
  • Use savings from the 340B program, which provides discounts on drugs to eligible health care providers that serve large numbers of low-income and uninsured patients, to reinvest in programs that enhance patient services and access to care.
  • Use 340B savings to provide free or reduced-priced prescription drugs to poorer residents.

The 340B program represents a very small percentage of the pharmaceutical industry’s $374 billion in U.S. sales annually. However, the value that the program provides to help hospitals advance the health of vulnerable individuals and communities is tremendous. Read more at www.aha.org/protect340B.

The pharmaceutical industry:

  • Since 2008, prices for brand name drugs have increased 127 percent compared with an 11 percent rise in the consumer price index.
  • In July 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a report highlighting that prescription drug spending accelerated from 2.5 percent in 2013 to 12.6 percent in 2014.
  • Just last month, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics estimated that drug spending nationwide increased by 8.5 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, which was more than any other year in the past decade except for the double-digit spike in 2014.

What policymakers should answer is should we preserve the 340B program or make changes to it that would hurt vulnerable individuals and communities to add to pharmaceutical companies’ profits? For us, the answer is clear.