Call for Caution: Safeguarding West Virginia’s Healthcare Access

Feb 12, 2024

H.E.A.L.S. of the South joined 15 patient and provider advocacy organizations to raise a collective concern regarding House Bill 4892 and Senate Bill 325 in the West Virginia State Legislature and its potential threat to healthcare access in the state. Despite being among the top 10 states in healthcare spending per person, nearly 40% of our residents live 200% below the Federal Poverty Level, emphasizing the urgent need for accessible and affordable healthcare.

Today, the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program is under scrutiny for falling short of its intended purpose. Recent investigations, notably by the New York Times, highlight how the program adversely impacts healthcare access, especially in impoverished and underserved areas.

Rather than addressing these concerns, HB 4892 and SB 325 in the West Virginia State Legislature propose an expansion of the 340B Program, potentially exacerbating its current issues. Today, 340B entities and their contract pharmacies reap a 72% profit margin on program medicines, compared to 22% on non-340B medicines. The current program allows larger entities to profit while providing minimal charity care, leaving smaller institutions struggling to meet community needs.

While we appreciate efforts to improve healthcare access, we believe HB 4892 and SB 325 are premature and we must encourage our federal Congressional Delegations to pass comprehensive reform. West Virginia is a leader in passing patient-first reforms, and we must ensure the 340B program aligns with its original purpose of improving access and health equity in our state at the federal level.