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Community Health Centers seek to protect discounts,
vital programs for low-income and rural Arkansans
U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson today approved a request by the Community Health Centers of Arkansas to participate in a federal lawsuit filed by the pharmaceutical industry against the state of Arkansas.
CHCA seeks to protect discounts for prescription drugs for disadvantaged patients across the state. These discounts are threatened by the pharmaceutical industry.
"Because Intervenors have demonstrated recognizable economic interests in the present lawsuit, their alleged interests ... are sufficiently direct, substantial, and legally protectable to allow them to intervene in the case," Wilson wrote in his order granting CHCA's motion to intervene.
Starting in the summer of 2020, pharmaceutical manufacturers placed multiple conditions on a drug discount program called 340B. These restrictions make it harder for the uninsured or underinsured to obtain much-needed medicine to ensure their quality of life.
Additionally, the restrictions cut at least $1 million a year from the budgets of Community Health Centers across the state, money used to operate medical programs that benefit at-risk and rural Arkansans.
Responding to the manufacturers' actions, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed, Act 1103 of 2021. CHCA, the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, and the Arkansas Hospital Association each supported the legislation.
Act 1103 requires manufacturers to honor 340B discounts on prescriptions dispensed at community-based pharmacies. Most CHCs don't have in-house pharmacies. They rely heavily upon contract pharmacies to serve the health care needs of their patients.
In September 2021, in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) filed suit against the Arkansas Insurance Department and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in her official capacity. PhRMA seeks to strike the section in Act 1103 that protects 340B discounts at contract pharmacies.
Joining CHCA in the motion to intervene was Piggott Community Hospital, a critical access hospital dependent on contract pharmacies to serve their patients. The motion was filed in March.
Intervention in the case will allow parties directly affected by the 340B restrictions, such as CHCs, to more fully present their points to the court.
Notably, 340B discounts are not funded by the government or taxpayers. Congress set up 340B as a condition for the pharmaceutical industry to participate in the Medicaid and Medicare program. In exchange for participation in that lucrative market, they provide discounts through 340B.
About: CHCs are non-profit organizations fueled by patient revenue and federal grants meant to expand health care access for low-income, minority, and rural populations. CHCs provide many services including primary care, dental, behavioral health, and health education. CHCA provides advocacy, training, and support for CHCs in Arkansas.
Altogether, 12 CHCs in Arkansas (including 11 member CHCA organizations) serve more than 240,000 people a year at more than 160 sites. Nationally, nearly 1,400 CHCs serve 30 million patients a year.
For more information on Community Health Centers in Arkansas, please visit: http://www.chc-ar.org/
Past News Releases
CHCA requests voice in drug industry lawsuit against the state, March 28, 2022
CHCA names Dr. Lanita S. White as incoming Chief Executive Officer, November 18, 2021
CHCA CEO resigns, May 21, 2021
McDonald new chair of CHCA Board, April 23, 2021
Community Health Centers in Arkansas
to continue mask requirement at clinics, March 31, 2021
More Community Health Centers in Arkansas
to receive vaccine in federal initiative, March 12, 2021
Community Health Center in NW Arkansas first
to participate in new federal vaccine initiative, February 19, 2021
Be Sure. Be Tested.
CHCs offer COVID testing across the state, May 28, 2020
In the News
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Rules for law on prescription savings get pushback, April 15, 2022
Arkansas Business: Drug Industry Challenges Arkansas Law, April 18, 2022
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Arkansas health care group asks to intervene, says overturning lawsuit could lead to higher drug prices for patients March 29, 2022
Arkansas Times: Big pharma sues Arkansas over low-cost prescription program, community health centers jump into the fray, March 28, 2022
Brigitte McDonald: Preserve 340B
Patients deserve the protection, January 10, 2022
Let schools decide, Stand strong against covid-19, August 5, 2021
LaShannon Spencer: A bold plan
Start nurses’ training in high school, March 12, 2021
LaShannon Spencer: Care at risk
Drugmakers threaten drug program, October 30, 2020