The 340B drug discount program is in need of reform. The 340B drug discount program was created to ensure that the neediest patients have access to lifesaving medicines. The program provides specified federally-funded clinics and certain hospitals steep discounts on outpatient drugs, but some of the hospitals participating in the program are pocketing revenue. A study found that for more than one-third of 340B hospitals, charity care currently represents less than 1 percent of those hospitals’ total patient costs.
Members of NAMI Wyoming, an organization dedicated to helping Wyomingites affected by mental illness, want to bring attention to this problem and how it affects Wyoming’s mental health services. Currently, mental illness affects one out of five adults. This issue is especially critical to our state now as resources have been continuously cut by the state Legislature. During the past two years, our Legislature has cut over 4 million dollars from mental health services.
In a time where mental health resources are particularly tight, we have a vested interest in ensuring that the 340B drug discount program continues to serve needy patients. Our mental health system is complex and difficult to navigate. Rooting out abuses in the 340B program will help better serve our neediest patients’ access to mental health services.
To keep medications accessible to people with mental illness, we must work with Congress and the Administration to revert the 340B drug discount program back to its original intent – helping the most vulnerable patients.