AIDS Healthcare Foundation rolls out its ’I Count’ national TV ad campaign to save 340B.

AIDS advocates and others launched a campaign to save the 340B discount drug program from being gutted by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), according to a press release by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), one of the groups leading the charge.

Protesters took to the streets outside PhRMA headquarters in Washington, DC, on October 22, as PhRMA held a roundtable discussion about the 340B program.

AHF also launched a public service announcement titled “I Count,” in which people who rely on the discount meds say, “Actual people count, not profits. Stop counting profits and start counting people.”

Congress created the 340B program in 1992. It requires drug manufacturers to provide discount meds to nonprofits and groups such as AIDS service providers that meet the needs of underserved clients. The program accounts for only 2 percent of drug purchases nationwide, but drug lobbyists are intent on gutting the program, according to the AHF.

“340B works beautifully. The only people who have a problem with it are greedy drug companies and the people who support them,” said AHF president, Michael Weinstein. “And 340B does not cost the government anything: all of the discounts come from the drug companies, simply in the form of reduced profits on the sales of these drugs. As the 340B program is only two percent of all drug sales, the drug companies can easily afford this. In fact, if 340B is cut, more people will turn to the government for help. Safety net providers participating in 340B are a vital part of the healthcare delivery system which need to be reinforced not cut.”

More coverage on the protests and the movement to save 340B can be found on social media. For example:

And this Instagram item from POZ blogger @IAMGUYANTHONY: