The following response was published by SNHPA (Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access) in response to an Op/Ed article recently published by Visante’s Bill Wood with former Representative Bart Stupak in The Hill.
The savings hospitals and other safety-net caregivers get from 340B drug discounts “yield real benefits for patients, local communities and, ultimately, the nation as a whole,” a former Member of Congress and a trustee of a Michigan hospital said in a commentary published today in the influential Washington, D.C., publication The Hill.
“To hear some tell it (mainly from those with drug industry connections), 340B is rife with abuse,” wrote ex-Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan and Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital board member William Wood. “Many hospitals don’t need the extra help, they say, and they are ripping off patients, taxpayers and the drug industry. The program, they say, needs drastic reform.”
“That is not the 340B program that we know,” they said.
Stupak and Wood are from largely rural Northern Michigan. While in Congress, Stupak was an original co-sponsor of the House version of legislation eventually folded into the Affordable Care act that extended 340B eligibility to rural and free-standing cancer hospitals and authorized improvements in 340B oversight. Aspirus Ontonagon, a 25-bed critical access hospital, was one of the institutions that obtained access to 340B pricing under health care reform. In the commentary, Wood describes how the hospital might have closed if it hadn’t gained access to 340B savings. The hospital went on to use its 340B savings to establish an oncology service, which saves local cancer patients from having to travel 150 miles or more for cancer treatment.
The commentary also describes how other hospitals use their 340B savings to stretch their federal dollars, serve more patients, and improve the quality of care.
For more 340B Facts from SNHPA