2021 AIR340B Summit
On Wednesday, May 26, the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B hosted its annual Stakeholder Summit to discuss the 340B Drug Pricing Program and what must be done to save the program from fraud and misuse. Attendees were unanimous in their proposed solution: focus on the patient.
The three-part virtual event brought together policymakers, patient advocates, health care industry stakeholders, and thought leaders to discuss the program, changes that need to be made, and how patients are being hurt by its current lack of oversight and transparency.
Two advocates for fixing the 340B program in Congress, Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Dr. Michael C. Burgess (R-TX), kicked off the summit by emphasizing the importance of transparency and oversight to ensure the program was benefiting patients as intended.
Rep. Burgess said the demand for increased “transparency should be bipartisan. There should be no discussion on that.” His remarks echoed those of Representative Peters, who got to the heart of the matter when he said, “To preserve the 340B program in the long term, we need transparency to understand how savings are being used to expand patient access to care.”
Transparency and oversight were a common theme throughout the sessions that followed remarks by the congressmen.
Neal Masia, the CEO of Health Capital Group, and Ted Okon, Executive Director of Community Oncology Alliance (COA), discussed Masai’s recent report that found oncology medicines are a large source of revenue for covered entities within the 340B program. Self-administered oncology medicines are estimated to be the fastest-growing and largest source of 340B profits in 2019 for covered entities. Okon stated: “It is a real problem when hospitals are so aggressive to catch 340B dollars that they will put oncology practices out of business, driving up costs and hurting patient access to care in the process.
During the final session, AIR340B spokesperson and former Congressman Bob Dold was joined by Scott Bertani, Director of Public Policy at HealthHIV; Dr. Amber Federizo, APRN, FNP-BC at the Hemostasis & Thrombosis Center of Nevada; and Matthew Rose, Strategic Advisor at the Center for Black Equity.
“340B isn’t just about prescriptions, it is needed to ensure lifesaving medical services, and provide appropriate access [to care],” Dr. Federizo reminded viewers. Dr. Federizo mentioned the best practices and reporting that her center follows, emphasizing the need for all covered entities to be accountable and transparent to ensure patients are always benefitting.
Scott Bertani of HealthHIV gave his opinion of the program from his policy and health perspective by highlighting the double standards in reporting requirements between many federal grantees and DHS hospitals: “There is a level of accountability with 340B entities with the federal grantee side that is just incongruent with other sides of the house in that respect.”
The Center for Black Equity’s Matthew Rose emphasized how vital the 340B program is, and how transparency and oversight ensure patients are being prioritized when spending rebates garnered through the program. “It is not a bad thing to be transparent and accountable, especially a program created to support marginalized communities,” he said. “Transparency is cute; however, you also need to have actual accountability metrics to say, ‘What happens when someone isn’t meeting the requirements?’”
The AIR340B 2021 Summit facilitated an important conversation about how putting patient care first and exposing the fraud and misuse of the 340B program is not just align with the spirit of the law — but it is the right thing to do.