Faces of 340B
Cynthia Coffey, director of retail pharmacy services, Riverside Regional Medical Center, Va.
Riverside Regional Medical Center is in Newport News, Va. The hospital is in the southeastern part of Virginia and provides care to a community that is otherwise medically underserved. Cynthia Coffey is the director of retail pharmacy services for Pavilion Pharmacy, a community pharmacy based at the hospital. When drug companies restricted 340B discounts to Riverside and other safety-net hospitals on drugs dispensed at community pharmacies, the hospital and Pavilion were unable to provide certain low-cost medications to patients. Due to the drug company restrictions, patients with diabetes have had delays accessing low-cost insulin. Prior to the drug company restrictions on insulin, one of Riverside’s patients living with low income could receive the medication for less than $10 out of pocket. With the restrictions, the out-of-pocket cost to that patient rose to $191, and he declined to fill his insulin when he was discharged from the hospital. Within two days, the patient was readmitted to the hospital due to an uncontrolled blood-sugar level. Cynthia is concerned that if drug companies continue to restrict 340B discounts to safety-net hospitals, there will be more negative health outcomes for patients.