TPCA Endorses Federal 340B Legislation

TPCA Endorses Federal Legislation to Prevent Third Parties from Discriminating Against Community Health Centers 
June 15, 2022
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Primary Care Association (TPCA) strongly endorses the PROTECT 340B Act, a bipartisan Federal bill that would prohibit third parties from boosting their profits at the expense of Community Health Centers and their underserved patients.
This bipartisan bill, introduced by Representatives McKinley (R-WV) and Spanberger (D-VA), seeks to prevent pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and other third-party payers from taking actions that deny Community Health Centers (CHCs) savings available under the Federal 340B drug discount program.  
Established by Congress in 1992, the 340B program requires pharmaceutical companies to provide drugs at discounted prices to CHCs and other safety net providers. CHCs invest the resulting savings into care for vulnerable and underserved patients. Says TPCA CEO, Libby Thurman, “Beyond access to affordable, life-saving medications, the 340B program allows health centers to invest in comprehensive services to meet the unique needs of their communities. Health centers in Tennessee rely on the program to sustain services such as behavioral health care, substance use disorder treatment, dental services, OB/GYN care, and pediatrics.”  
Third parties have imposed creative ways to take the savings intended for CHCs and their patients while increasing their own profits. Examples of this “pickpocketing” include when insurers pay significantly less for a drug purchased under 340B, and when PBMs impose higher fees on a pharmacy because it dispenses 340B drugs.   
The PROTECT 340B Act will prohibit these types of discriminatory practices, ensuring that 340B savings stay where they belong – with CHCs and their patients.  It builds on laws that 20 states have already passed by wide bi-partisan margins, including Tennessee, and which several other states are actively considering.
The PROTECT 340B Act will not cost taxpayers a penny, but it will have a significant impact on the ability of CHCs to continue to provide care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. TPCA encourages our members of Congress to cosponsor this bill that will stop third parties from profiting at the expense of the most vulnerable Tennesseans.