340B Health

STATEMENT REGARDING PRESIDENT TRUMP’S DRUG PRICING PLAN

in 340B Health News Releases

Washington, D.C.— We applaud President Trump’s efforts to rein in the high cost of prescription drugs, but are deeply concerned that his administration’s continued misguided attacks on the 340B drug pricing program will lead to higher drug costs and less access to care for vulnerable patients.

Americans are right to be concerned about the high cost of drugs and the impact it is having on their family budgets and ability to afford needed care. Drug prices are too high and they need to come down. The 340B drug pricing program is one of the few federal programs that curb drug costs that are working. Since it was enacted in 1992, 340B has saved billions in drug costs for safety-net providers and helped millions of low-income and rural Americans get needed care. Sadly, the administration’s policy proposals would erode that progress and just put more money into the pockets of pharmaceutical companies.

The administration’s proposals are based on a faulty understanding of the 340B program and the pharmaceutical market. The notion that 340B discounts are raising drug prices is simply false. Drug companies set the prices for their products and they, alone, decide how high those prices go. Research has concluded that 340B is such a small share of the market that it cannot plausibly cause manufacturers to increase drug prices.

The president’s proposal to cut Medicare payments to 340B hospitals violates the Medicare and 340B statutes. It cuts $1.6 billion from the safety net and does nothing to reduce drug prices for seniors and the disabled. Nearly 200 members of the House – Democrats and Republicans – have sponsored legislation (H.R. 4392) to reverse those cuts and Congress should act quickly to enact it into law.

Hospitals participating in the 340B program account for 60 percent of all uncompensated care in the U.S., serve a high proportion of low-income patients on Medicaid, and offer critical services including care for opioid addiction, HIV/AIDS, and trauma that are vital to patients. Tying savings to charity care alone – as the president’s plan suggests – will result in a shrinking of the 340B program and less support to patients in need.

Finally, if the administration is serious about lowering drug prices, it needs to address continuing evidence that manufacturers overcharge safety-net providers. That is why we are so disappointed that the administration recently proposed to delay, for the fifth time, regulations setting 340B ceiling prices and establishing civil monetary penalties for manufacturers that knowingly and intentionally exceed those limits.

We stand ready to work with the president and the bipartisan leadership in Congress to make 340B stronger.

Contact: Richard Sorian at 202-536-2285 or richard.sorian@340bhealth.org.

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