LETTERS

Letter to the Editor: Pharmaceutical industry threatens access to affordable prescription drugs

Barnesville Enterprise

Editor,

As our country faces both a public health and a looming economic crisis, access to affordable prescription drugs is crucial. Unfortunately, as drug prices continue to rise, the pharmaceutical industry is attempting to dismantle one program that already ensures access to low-cost medications – the 340B Drug Program.

Community health centers, like Ohio Hills Health Services, and other safety net providers utilize the 340B program to provide affordable, lifesaving prescription drugs to our patients. In recent weeks, there has been increasing number of pharmaceutical companies targeting this program in order to increase their own profits.

In Ohio, 89 percent of community health center patients fall below the poverty guidelines and many face barriers to care such as lack of transportation. We need to make sure prescription drugs are not only affordable, but accessible for area residents to avoid poor health outcomes. Without access to medications, some patients would end up in the emergency room or face costly, unnecessary hospitalizations.

Senator Portman, Senator Brown and Congressman Johnson have all indicated their support of this vital program. Without the 340B program, our community faces dire consequences including higher drug prices and decreased access. The 340B program is a lifeline for many area residents, and access to affordable prescription drugs should not be compromised due to corporate greed.

Jeff Britton, CEO

Ohio Hills Health Services