Advocates Stand Up Against AstraZeneca to Save Drug Discount Program for Vulnerable Populations

Wilmington Protest, Wed., Oct. 14th – 12 noon – 1:00 pm ET

Dozens of concerned healthcare advocates from across the northeast region protest AstraZeneca, one of five U.S. based pharmaceutical companies that have cut back on the number of drugs they provide through the 340B federal drug discount program

Please replace the release with the following updated version due to multiple revisions.

The updated release reads:

DELAWARE PROTEST: ADVOCATES STAND UP AGAINST ASTRAZENECA TO SAVE DRUG DISCOUNT PROGRAM FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

Wilmington Protest, Wed., Oct. 14th – 12 noon – 1:00 pm ET

Dozens of concerned healthcare advocates from across the northeast region protest AstraZeneca, one of five U.S. based pharmaceutical companies that have cut back on the number of drugs they provide through the 340B federal drug discount program.

Healthcare advocates from across the northeast region will protest the recent actions of AstraZeneca, in cutting back the number of critical life-saving drugs provided at discounted rates to non-profit healthcare providers, through the federal 340B drug discount program.

WHAT:

Protest against AstraZeneca

 

 

WHERE:

AstraZeneca’s Corporate Office

 

1800 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803

 

NOTE: The protest will take place at the intersection of Powder Mill Road & Route 22

 

 

WHEN:

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 

12noon – 1pm (EDT)

 

 

WHO:

Healthcare advocates from across the Northeast Region

The federal 340B Drug Discount Program is a lifeline that allows safety net providers, including HIV/AIDS clinics receiving funding through the Ryan White program, to obtain prescription drugs at below-retail prices. The program was established with bipartisan support as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. With 340B savings, Ryan White clinics are able to stretch their grant funds, offer a wider range of services, and improve the quality of care persons living with HIV/AIDS receive. The program also benefits qualified 340B covered entities such as non-profit rural health facilities, community clinics and children’s hospitals that serve vulnerable populations.

Tomorrow’s protest, led by healthcare advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), follows a lawsuit filed by Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access (RWC-340B) against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to require the HHS secretary to take action against AstraZeneca and three other pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, Novartis and the U.S. division of Sanofi-Aventis which are illegally withholding drugs they are required to sell through the 340B program. With tomorrow’s protest, AHF is demanding that these greedy pharmaceutical companies stop their bullying tactics that will have a devastating impact on the healthcare and well-being of our most vulnerable populations (see LITIGATION PRESS RELEASE). RWC340B also recently released a study on the potential adverse impact of policies reducing resources to Ryan White clinics, see WHITE PAPER, PRESS RELEASE, and FACT SHEET.

“AstraZeneca has launched an assault on a federal drug discount program essential to the safety net of our nation’s health care,” stated John Hassell, AHF’s national director of advocacy. “They are messing with the numerous health care centers

Medicine Hat advocates travel to Lethbridge to volunteer with its unsanctioned overdose prevention site

A pair of Hatters travelled to Lethbridge last week to volunteer outside the unsanctioned overdose prevention site.

Kym Porter and Kari Ursulescu are members of the group Moms Stop the Harm, and have both lost a loved one to overdose. Porter lost her son Neil, and Ursulescu lost her partner Riley.

The women say they went to the site to help people, and to show compassion to those battling addiction.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Ursulescu. “Since ARCHES was closed and the mobile supervised consumption site opened, a lot of people have not had anywhere to go.

“We went where the problem is and we’re trying to help.”

Porter says the mobile SCS isn’t doing a good enough job.

“The mobile site can accommodate less than 10 per cent of the capacity that ARCHES used to cover,” she said. “We’ve discovered that former ARCHES clients haven’t found the new people to be as compassionate as ARCHES staff.

“Consequently, they’re gong to Galt Gardens and using there, putting their lives at risk.”

Before it was closed, the ARCHES site was the busiest site in North America, serving more than 600 people every day.

The new site is being operated by the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society and has sparked protests at Galt Gardens. The organization has been fined twice so far for having a tent set up on city property, which goes against a city bylaw.

According to Lethbridge Herald reporting, police have not seen drug use at the unsanctioned site.

“The tent took about four of us to set up and inside are a couple tables and chairs,” said Porter. “Outside of the tent, we had a table set up with water, juice and food. They also have naloxone in case someone does overdose. People there are trained to use it.”

The site is not drug testing yet, which is the process of testing a drug on the spot to see if it is contaminated with other substances like fentanyl.

The site has been called illegal by many, including Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan. Porter says the courts have not ruled on overdose prevention sites.

“Courts haven’t ruled on the legality of overdose prevention sites in Alberta, or Canada for that matter,” she said. “If a staff member, volunteer or client were to be charged, they would have a legal defence under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Everyone has the right to life.”

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, there are approximately 120 supervised consumption sites operating around the world, without a single overdose fatality at any of them.

Porter says closing the ARCHES site was a step in the wrong direction.

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“The ultimate impact is that there will be deaths,” she said. “The site also supplies clean needles and is a gateway to resources. If you want to find out about housing or recovery, they have information there. They can help people with having wounds cleaned