340B Insight Podcast
Episode Twelve: Advocacy in Action
October 26, 2020
In this episode, we speak with Julie Clements, Director of Health and Clinical Affairs at the University of California Office of Federal Government Relations. Clements details why advocating for 340B is critical, how health care professionals can engage in advocacy, and how advocacy has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Transcript)
In this episode, we speak with Julie Clements, Director of Health and Clinical Affairs at the University of California Office of Federal Government Relations. Clements details why advocating for 340B is critical, how health care professionals can engage in advocacy, and how advocacy has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Importance of Health Care Professionals Advocating For 340B: Clements discusses how important it is for those who work with the 340B program every day, such as pharmacists and other health care professionals, to provide their first-hand experiences to policymakers on how beneficial 340B is to patients. She and her government relations colleagues partner with health care providers and other health system colleagues, such as communications professionals, to share how University of California is a good steward of the program. Health care providers advocating directly about the program to policymakers is the best way for them to understand how the 340B program works.
- Educating Policymakers on 340B: Julie discusses how one of the greatest advocacy challenges is helping policymakers understand how 340B works. A couple of years ago, University of California had one of its chief pharmacists testify on Capitol Hill to educate policymakers about the program and answer their questions. The chief pharmacist discussed how safety-net hospitals rely on 340B and how they use their program savings. Julie heard positive feedback about the testimony the chief pharmacist provided and how it helped members of Congress understand 340B better.
- Workarounds During COVID-19: Advocacy days also have been productive opportunities to share information to policymakers in D.C. The temporary halt to in-person events drastically altered how advocacy is done. Clements shares that one upside is the ease of setting up virtual meetings to allow for quick one-on-one conversations with members of Congress and their staff rather than long trips to and from Washington D.C. Virtual meetings also provide more opportunities for C-suite executives to participate.
- Drug Manufacturers Refuse to Provide 340B Discounts: One of the biggest challenges 340B currently faces is drug manufacturers refusing or threatening to refuse 340B discounts when drugs are dispensed at community pharmacies. Julie said that the timing of the drug manufacturers’ actions is unconscionable considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The University of California is responding to these actions by continuing to demonstrate to policymakers how the health system is using 340B as Congress intended.
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