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AHF to Congressman Peters: Drop Your Sponsorship of 340B Legislation Tainted by Indictment of Rep. Chris Collins

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AHF renews its call for Rep. Scott Peters to drop support for the
PAUSE Act, a law designed to protect pharma profits at the expense of
nonprofit hospitals.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
today again demanded U.S.
Rep. Scott Peters
(D-CA) drop his sponsorship of H.R. 4710, a bill
designed to help drug industry profits and which will harm nonprofit
safety net hospitals participating in the 340B drug discount
program. The bill, also known as the PAUSE Act, is cosponsored by U.S.
Rep. Chris Collins
(R-NY), the leading voice in Congress to gut the
lifesaving drug pricing program. Collins previously also introduced 340B
legislation that would have directly benefited a drug company in which
he is a major shareholder.

Rep. Collins was recently indicted
on charges of insider trading related to drug company stocks and lying
to law enforcement agents
about the crime. Following the indictment,
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan removed
Collins
from the House Energy & Commerce Committee until the case
has run its course. Collins subsequently also suspended
his reelection campaign.

"The indictment of Rep. Collins on drug company insider trading charges
merely confirms what AHF has long argued—that efforts to ‘reform' the
340B program are really just pharma-backed efforts to kneecap and
ultimately destroy this worthy program in order to help protect pharma's
outsized profits," said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF.
As written, the PAUSE Act would prohibit additional eligible hospitals
from taking advantage of the 340B program and impose additional red tape
and administrative burdens on the hospitals.

Since 1992, the 340B Discount Drug Program has allowed "safety-net
providers" and certain qualifying hospitals to buy prescription drugs at
discounted prices from drugmakers. This allows them to provide
critically needed services, many of which are not reimbursed by any
insurance. At Ryan White HIV clinics, like AHF's, the savings are used
to pay for HIV testing, linkage-to-care, retention coordination, and
case management.

According to 340B Health, three-quarters of rural hospitals (74%) said
they used 340B savings to keep their doors open and preserve access to
care for their patients and communities. See attached 340B Health report
at this link.

Some Key Points on the 340B Program

  • The 340B
    Program is a bipartisan program that costs taxpayers nothing. The 340B
    Program simply allows eligible health care providers to purchase
    prescription drugs at discounted prices from pharmaceutical
    manufacturers. As a condition for being able to sell drugs to the
    multi-billion-dollar Medicaid program, drug makers agree to offer 340B
    discounts to a discrete group of eligible providers. It's a fair deal.
  • 340B also accounts for only 1.3 percent of the drug
    companies' market share in the U.S., so the program is
    small and has minimal impact to drug companies' bottom line. But,
    regardless, the pharmaceutical industry has nonetheless targeted the
    program.
  • AHF calls on Congress to leave 340B alone. AHF calls on 340B nonprofit
    health care providers to urgently contact their members of Congress to
    reject the pharmaceutical industry's legislative plot to blow up 340B.
  • In February of this year, AHF formally rolled out its "Let340B"
    national advocacy and media campaign to preserve and protect the
    lifesaving program.

AHF previously
asked
Rep. Peters to drop his sponsorship of H.R. 4710, citing its
harmful effects. Others, including the Ryan
White Clinics for 340B Access Coalition
and the American
Hospital Association
, also issued press statements and letters in
December 2017 and January 2018 urging legislators to drop their support
and sponsorship of H.R. 4710.

However, Congressman Peters, whose own reelection campaigns have taken
more than $100,000 from drug companies, has not budged.

"The indictment of Rep. Collins blows any cover that people looking to
change the 340B program are only interested in ‘transparency' or
‘efficiency.' The effort to change 340B is a pharma-backed effort to
reduce or eliminate it. At this point, one can only conclude from Rep.
Peters' continuing sponsorship of the PAUSE Act that he does not oppose
this effort," said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public
Affairs for AHF.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
968,000 individuals in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

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