Community Health Centers (CHCs) are part of the backbone of Indiana’s health care safety-net. Non-profit, community-driven primary health care providers, CHCs serve Hoosiers who are identified as medically under-served and may otherwise have no access to health care. Collectively, Indiana’s CHCs provided primary care services to nearly 600,000 Hoosiers in 2019, nearly 70% of whom were on Medicaid or uninsured, and over 50% of whom identified as being a racial/ethnic minority.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent severe economic disruption, Indiana’s CHCs are being called on now more than ever to provide care to vulnerable Hoosiers. “Indiana’s Community Health Centers have been a key component of Indiana’s response to COVID-19,” said Ben Harvey, CEO of the Indiana Primary Health Care Association. “From testing to telemedicine, Hoosiers across Indiana are relying on CHCs to be their point of access to health care, and we expect this to only increase as more Hoosiers become uninsured or covered by Medicaid.”
Unfortunately, in the wake of COVID-19, Eli Lilly has decided to undermine one key support of Indiana’s CHCs: the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The 340B Program gives safety-net providers, like CHCs, the right to purchase drugs at discounted prices. “We are disappointed by Eli Lilly’s decision to restrict access to the 340B Drug Pricing Program”, states Beth Wrobel, CEO of HealthLinc. “Thousands in need will lose access to affordable pricing on crucial medication. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this decision couldn’t come at a worse time.”
As part of their mission to provide health care services to their communities, CHCs provide services to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. “The loss of 340B drug pricing would significantly hamper the ability of CHCs to provide services, as the financial costs would be immense. Why a home-grown drug company with billions of dollars of annual revenue would choose to undermine vulnerable Hoosiers at a time like this is beyond me,” concluded Harvey.