For Immediate Release: July 24, 2020
Contact: Amy Simmons Farber 202 309 0338
Statement from Tom Van Coverden, NACHC President & CEO
The Community Health Center mission is to ensure access to affordable, high-quality care for all people, regardless of ability to pay — and that includes pharmaceuticals. We are proud that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has in the past noted their longstanding “track record of delivering quality care at a significantly lower cost,” a task made possible by programs such as 340B.
The 340B program gives small, community-based non-profits like health centers access to discounts that they could not negotiate on their own. By law, regulation, and mission, every penny that health centers save through 340B discounts is used either to make medication affordable for low-income patients, or to support other activities that expand access to care. We cannot underscore enough how vitally important such discounts are as health centers battle COVID-19 on the frontlines of hot zones across America.
Health centers are accountable and transparent in how they apply resources to patient care. Members of Congress from both parties have repeatedly highlighted health centers as excellent stewards of the 340B program, using the savings it generated as Congress intended — “to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”
Health centers are not charging low-income patients “massive, full prices” for pharmaceuticals. Indeed, health center staff are putting their lives on the line every day to protect vulnerable populations from the spread of COVID-19.
Let’s be clear: health centers support actions to make drug prices affordable, especially for life-savings medicines such as insulin and Epipens. As safety net providers committed to ensuring affordable access for all, health centers are already part of the solution – not the problem.