Being Alive 1997 Jun 5: 11
A "Supplemental Emergency" Appropriations Bill currently before
the U.S. Senate includes language canceling a federal discount
drug pricing program to state, county and local governments.
Section 323 of the Senate Supplemental Appropriations bill (S.
627) would repeal the federal cooperative purchasing program
established under Section 1555 of the Federal Acquisition
Streamlining Act of 1994 (FASA).
This program would have allowed public hospitals, state and
local health departments and ADAP programs to take advantage of
even greater discounts than are now available to
federally-qualified health centers and some ADAP programs under
the PHS 340-B pricing program. This would mean cost savings of
between 31% and 62% on major hiv drugs. Equally impressive
discounts would be available for drugs to treat other serious
This program was subject to GAO (General Accounting Office) and
GSA (General Services Administration) studies before being
implemented nationwide. Because neither GAO nor GSA has
completed their studies, the Congressional committees with
jurisdiction over this program have not yet scheduled hearings
or received public comments.
This action is a sneak attack by the pharmaceutical industry
and other federal suppliers to kill this program before it has
even begun! This could be particularly disastrous at a time
when ADAP programs and other public health suppliers are
struggling under the burden of the costs of providing the hiv
standard of care. Mississippi's ADAP, for example, is now
planning to remove 640 out of 800 patients from their program.
What can you do? Call or fax the following members of Congress
and tell them to kill this sneak attack on FASA. They must
allow GAO and GSA to complete their studies and then hold
public hearings where groups like ours will be able to testify
as to the urgent importance of these discount programs! You
should also call or fax your member of Congress to give them a
heads up on this sneak attack!
California's Congressman to call is Republican Rep. Steve Horn
(Mark Brasher is his staff person). Phone: 202.225.5147, fax:
For more information, contact Gary Rose of the AIDS Action
Council (202.986.1300 x3026) or Julie Rocchio of the National
Association of Public Hospitals (202.624.7255).