HealthHealth Centers Push Back Against Big-Pharma Tactics

Health Centers Push Back Against Big-Pharma Tactics

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Colorado‘s community health centers are joining a national effort pushing back against Big Pharma‘s recent moves making it harder to provide discounted medicines to people living in severe poverty.

Donald Moore, chief executive officer of the Pueblo Community Health Center, said a federal program known as 340B has helped more of Pueblo’s Latino community, who experience much higher rates of chronic disease, and more barriers to accessing primary health care.

“We’re totally fulfilling the purpose of the legislation,” Moore explained. “Which is to stretch our public funding as far as it can go to reach the people most in need, which in our case includes minority populations.”

Over the past two years, drug producers and third-party prescription drug benefit managers have been throwing up barriers to the 340B program, according to a new report calling on Congress to add new protections. The industry has claimed discounted medicines are being diverted to patients not eligible under 340B, or savings are not being used to expand access.

Moore noted the law has a dispute-resolution process for determining if health centers are not doing what they are supposed to do. But drug companies and benefit managers are acting unilaterally, adding restrictions and new rules limiting access to discounted medicines at community health centers and their contracted pharmacies.

“They’ve tried to whittle away at that,” Moore contended. “And keep more of the money in their pockets, [rather] than allow those savings to flow down to safety-net providers like community health centers to make sure people have access to medicines that are important to good outcomes for the patients.”

The report found 92% of the nation’s 1,400 health centers use 340B savings to increase access for low-income and/or rural patients. Moore pointed to a new clinic, which has added 300-400 new patients each month since it opened in January, and six school-based clinics, all made possible in part through savings under 340B.

“These clinics are an important access point to adolescents and young adults. But they do not operate on a profitable basis. And we utilize savings from the 340B program to ensure those access pointed can stay open.”

pharma

Centros de salud rechazan tácticas de grandes farmacéuticas

Centros de salud comunitarios de Colorado se estan uniendo a un esfuerzo nacional para rechazar los movimientos recientes de big pharma que dificultan el suministro de medicamentos con descuento a las personas que viven en pobreza extrema.

El CEO del Centro de Salud Comunitario Pueblo, Don Moore, dice que un programa federal conocido como 340B ha ayudado a mas miembros de la comunidad latina de Pueblo, quienes experimentan tasas mucho mas altas de enfermedades cronicas y mas barreras para acceder atencion medica primaria.

“Estamos cumpliendo totalmente con el proposito de la legislacion,” explica Moore. “Que es estirar nuestra financiacion publica tanto como sea posible para llegar a las personas mas necesitadas, que en nuestro caso incluye a las poblaciones minoritarias.”

En los ultimos dos anos, los productores de medicamentos y los administradores de beneficios de terceros han estado poniendo obstaculos al programa 340B, segun un nuevo informe que pide al Congreso que agregue nuevas protecciones. La industria ha afirmado que los medicamentos con descuento se estan desviando a pacientes que no son elegibles segun el programa 340B, o que los ahorros no se estan utilizando para ampliar el acceso.

Moore senala que la ley tiene un proceso de resolucion de disputas para determinar si los centros de salud no estan haciendo lo que se supone que deben hacer. Pero las companias farmaceuticas y los administradores de beneficios estan actuando de manera unilateral, agregando restricciones y nuevas reglas que limitan el acceso a medicamentos con descuento en los centros de salud comunitarios y sus farmacias contratadas.

“Han tratado de reducir eso y mantener mas dinero en sus bolsillos,” asegura Moore. “En vez de permitir que esos ahorros fluyan hacia proveedores de redes de seguridad como centros de salud comunitarios y asegurarse de que las personas tengan acceso a medicamentos que son importantes para obtener buenos resultados en los pacientes.”

El informe encontro que el 92 por ciento de los 1,400 centros de salud de la nacion utilizan ahorros de 340B para aumentar el acceso para pacientes de bajos ingresos y/o rurales. Moore senala una nueva clinica que abrio en enero, la cual ya ha agregado de trescientos a cuatrocientos nuevos pacientes cada mes, y seis clinicas en escuelas, todas posibles en parte gracias a los ahorros de 340B.

“Estas clinicas son un importante punto de acceso para adolescentes y jovenes adultos,” dice Moore. “Pero no operan sobre una base rentable. Y utilizamos los ahorros del programa 340B para garantizar que esos puntos de acceso puedan permanecer abiertos.”

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