Equitas Health Responds to Big Pharma’s Latest Contract Pharmacy Obstacle | Equitas Health

Blog 7/2/24

Equitas Health Responds to Big Pharma’s Latest Contract Pharmacy Obstacle

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A policy change at one of the world’s largest drug makers could hinder patient access to diabetes treatments such as insulin at community pharmacies in Ohio and beyond.

Novo Nordisk — which manufactures insulin, semaglutide, and other diabetes and hormone therapies — said this month that it would implement new requirements for participants of the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program. Savings from this program support patient access and affordability initiatives at community health centers. The company said that effective July 1, 2024, it will stop shipments of 340B medications to contract pharmacies unless they register each pharmacy location with the manufacturer and provide detailed claims information.

Dr. Nick Saltsman (he/him), Chief Pharmacy Officer at Equitas Health, said: 

“Novo Nordisk, a giant in the pharmaceutical industry, is attempting to strong-arm community pharmacies by forcing them to choose between patient confidentiality and access to lifesaving medications. This is yet another example of Big Pharma’s blatant greed and disregard for community health programs that play a direct role in improving healthcare outcomes for millions of patients nationwide.”

The federal 340B Drug Pricing Program requires drug makers participating in Medicaid to sell outpatient drugs at discounted prices to healthcare organizations that serve low-income and uninsured patients. Covered entities such as Equitas Health then reinvest pharmacy proceeds into vital healthcare programs such as primary care, specialized HIV care, behavioral health, and dentistry.

Dr. Rhea Debussy (she/her), Director of External Affairs at Equitas Health, said: 

“Given the worldwide shortage on diabetes-related medications, today’s announcement from Novo Nordisk is very disheartening. Patients shouldn’t have to worry about access to affordable medications like the life-saving drugs produced by Novo Nordisk.”

The 340B program is a critical lifeline for community health centers that deserves protection from the pharmaceutical industry’s attempts to undercut it. Equitas Health calls on our elected officials to put patients first and put a stop to Big Pharma’s growing list of unfair and unnecessary hurdles for contract pharmacies.”

David Ernesto Munar (he/him), President and CEO at Equitas Health, added:

“Drug manufacturers once again are showing their willingness to prioritize profits over patient care. By chipping away at the 340B Drug Pricing Program, Big Pharma is threatening the long-term ability of community health organizations to provide the quality, affirming care that our patients deserve. Equitas Health will continue to sound the alarm about these illegal measures and demand that our elected officials move swiftly and decisively to maintain the integrity of the 340B program.”