Friday, June 26, 2015

340b: A Peculiar little Designation that is Worth $$$

By: David W. Poole, Director of Legislative Affairs, Southern Bureau, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

“340b” is a simple 3 digit number with one letter of the alphabet attached that represents so much more than what this peculiar little designation might imply. Since 1998, Section 340b of the Veterans Care Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-585) has ensured that millions of dollars in life-saving treatments purchased by eligible federally funded entities under the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990, as amended, are priced at a much reduced level that is calculated and prescribed clearly in law and policy.

For the purposes of this editorial we are focusing only on the HIV/AIDS universe inclusive of the benefits to the patients and their providers, although the overall 340b program extends well beyond the Ryan White eligible world to other healthcare providers that serve many different patient populations beyond HIV/AIDS.

The 340b program is under serious scrutiny for change by many stakeholders, most notably the pharmaceutical and biologics industry who resist and reject anything such as federal law that erodes their profit margins. Make no mistake about it, their interest in seeing the 340b program “brought under control” is all about profits. “Abuses” can be cited as the reasons for wanting change; however, abuses can be addressed in many effective ways that do not require legislation.

Pill capsule with the words "340b" on it
Source: Rx Showcase
The 340b program provides much more than better pricing to the eligible Ryan White entities; it provides an opportunity for these non-profit agencies to generate revenue that is reinvested back into the HIV/AIDS community in the form of expanded care and treatment capacity. This benefit extends to state Departments of Health (via the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs), hundreds of AIDS Service Organizations and clinics, and their patients nationwide that are already dealing with a ridiculously complex healthcare payer landscape where the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Ryan White intersect, especially in states where Medicaid expansion has not and is NOT likely to occur anytime in the near future.

In addition, assurances of long term and sustained care and treatment funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) appears to be over or at the very least in serious jeopardy. HIV/AIDS is no longer the public health priority it once was and we must speak out loudly when a threat to stable funding resources such as 340b becomes imminent – and it should be noted that this funding is on the backs of healthy and robust for-profit industry giants.

Again, our voices must be heard and we must not succumb to the influence of an industry that wants to see their profit margins protected. We are the first to acknowledge the excellent simple antiretroviral treatment regimens and options that have been introduced by the pharmaceutical industry starting in the summer of 2006; however, we must also cite this industry for some of the highest profit margins realized by any business sector. So let’s make it known through very effective advocacy that the 340b section of the Veterans Care Act as it pertains to Ryan White eligible entities should be OFF-LIMITS!

Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

PAN Foundation Issues Call for Case Studies

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, and in collaboration with The American Journal of Managed Care, has issued a Call for Case Studies. Organizations are encouraged to submit an abstract, which is due by September 15, 2015.

PAN Logo
PAN offers help and hope to people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses for whom cost limits access to critical medical treatments. Since May 2004, PAN has provided more than 467,000 underinsured patients with over $880 million dollars in much needed financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. Many of these patients would have few alternatives without the help of PAN. That’s why charitable donations from both the public and private sector are so crucial to continuing the financial assistance provided by the Foundation.

Summarized Amy Niles, Director of Alliance Development: "Every day, it seems that there is another research study or article highlighting the increasing cost-sharing burden for patients seeking access to critical therapies.  This topic was also a focus of PAN’s Patient Advocacy Roundtable hosted in the fall of 2014."

PAN is interested in learning more about the impact cost-sharing has had on patients being served and its impact on organizations. Importantly, PAN would like to learn about the strategies being implemented, or plan to implement, to address this impact. Click here to download the material that describes PAN’s Call for Case Studies in more detail.

As always, feel free to contact PAN with any questions about this initiative. Amy Niles can be reached by phone at (202) 661-8073 or email at