Rally held outside Trillium Health against changes to New York drug pricing plan
Time is running out for local safety net providers to convince Gov. Kathy Hochul to save a long-running state Medicaid program.
When a state overhaul, called NYRx, goes into effect on April 1, it will disrupt access to the over 30-year-old 340B Prescription Drug Discount Program.
The program requires drug companies to offer prescription medicine at lower cost to centers --like Trillium and Jordan Health—that serve vulnerable populations. It has expanded rapidly in recent years and drawn criticism from pharmaceutical companies.
“We are calling on the governor to do what is right and what is just and keep the 340B and Medicaid managed care to allow us to keep our programs and much needed services intact,” said Andrea DeMeo, Trillium’s CEO and president. “We're very concerned about maintaining our legacies.,”
DeMeo said the removal of this program, also known as a Medicaid carve-out, will cause Trillium to lose up to $5 million in funding for programs like the mobile access clinic, its intensive HIV prevention and testing service, and care for people with opioid dependence.
The 340B plan let certain clinics save money on prescription drugs, under the premise that they’d redirect those funds to serve vulnerable populations. But studies show hospitals may have used the money to increase profits instead, and it’s under legal attack.
Others are cheering for the transition. The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York said a failure to implement NYRx, which has been in the works for two years, would “be disastrous for New York’s eight million Medicaid patients.”
Eden Clark, a patient and employee of Trillium, spoke at a 340B rally outside Trillium Health on Tuesday to defend the program, saying it provided a life-changing safety net.
“The services and career opportunities that Trillium Health have provided for me have greatly improved not only my health, but my entire quality of life,” Clark, who is transgender, said.
“Historically, New York State has been a safe haven for my community,” Clark said. “But the proposed cut to 340B threatens to deny critical funding that health centers statewide need to provide comprehensive and affirming care to us.”
Both the Senate and the Assembly have rejected the carve-out. The final state budget will determine the future of the 340B program and implementation of NYRx.