A group of 25 to 35 HIV/AIDS and drug pricing advocates, including many from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), will stage a protest and picket line in front of the district office (4350 Executive Drive, Suite 105 in San Diego) of San Diego Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA, 52nd District) today Dec. 28 at 1:45 p.m. to denounce and protest his recent introduction of federal legislation that would severely curtail nonprofit hospitals’ participation in a federally-administered drug discount program that costs the government and taxpayers nothing, and which was specifically created to extend the lifeline of care and services that safety net hospitals and providers are able to deliver. Peters, a San Diego Democrat, co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN).
Peters, who has served in Congress since 2013, has taken more than $100,000 in contributions from the drug industry and biotech companies during his tenure. He introduced the bill, (H.R. 4710) which stops additional hospitals from participating in the 340B drug pricing discount program, on the Friday before Christmas with little public notice or input.
“Congressman Peters has taken well over $100,000 from pharma and biotech companies during his tenure in Congress, placing drug company profits over the health and wellbeing of his own constituents,” said Tracy Jones, National Director of Advocacy Campaigns for AHF. “His bill will make it much harder for nonprofit hospitals to participate in a program that provides more care—and costs the federal government nothing—in order to make his pharma donors and friends richer. Peters’ bill strangles hospitals with useless red tape, which will undoubtedly mean they will use the program less. Peters all but introduced this bill under cover of darkness on the Friday right before the Christmas holiday. He’s the Grinch who gave America a lump of coal, and drug companies even more money on top of their fat tax cut.”
Notably, there is also no mention or press release about H.R. 4710 on the congressman’s official website.
“Normally, when Members of Congress introduce bills, they trumpet the accomplishment in order to grab headlines and demonstrate to the public and their constituents that they are getting things done. Congressman Peters’ webpage features a lot of that,” said Tom Myers, General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs for AHF. “However, there is nothing anywhere on his website for this bill, which suggests he is not proud of it. He likely knows it is bad policy and will not be popular, and that people will recognize that he is doing the bidding of pharma.”