The Intersection of Drug Discount Programs and Abortion Access in the U.S.

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

Jul 20, 2023

3 min read


The Intersection of Drug Discount Programs and Abortion Access in the U.S.


In the United States, two pressing issues have been making headlines: the restrictions imposed by drugmakers on the 340B drug discount program and the ongoing battle for abortion access in different states. While seemingly unrelated, these two topics intersect in ways that have significant implications for healthcare providers, patients, and the pharmaceutical industry. This article aims to explore the commonalities between drug discount programs and abortion access, shedding light on the potential consequences and offering actionable advice for those involved.

Drugmakers Restricting 340B Pharmacy Sales:

The 340B drug discount program, established in 1992, was designed to provide hospitals serving low-income and uninsured patients with substantial drug discounts. However, recent actions taken by drugmakers to limit discounted prescription sales to certain pharmacies participating in the program have raised concerns. By restricting sales, drugmakers may jeopardize the profits of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who rely on steering patients to affiliated pharmacies and charging referral and dispensing fees. This move could have a detrimental impact on the financial stability of the largest PBMs.

Abortion Access in the U.S.:

The battle for abortion access in the U.S. has intensified in recent years, with states taking divergent approaches based on their political landscape. States with Republican trifectas, where Republicans hold the majority in both legislative chambers and the governorship, have enforced bans on most abortions. Conversely, states with Democratic trifectas have passed laws or constitutional amendments to protect abortion access. State supreme courts have played a crucial role, either allowing new bans to take effect or declining to block them. The result has been a patchwork of abortion access across the country, with clinics closing in some states and opening in others.

The Intersection:

While the 340B drug discount program and abortion access may seem unrelated, they both highlight the influence of political and corporate interests in healthcare. In the case of the 340B program, drugmakers restricting sales to certain pharmacies participating in the program may be driven by profit motives, potentially undermining the program's goal of providing affordable medications to underserved populations. Similarly, the battle for abortion access reflects the ideological divide among states and the power of legislation to shape reproductive rights. Both issues raise questions about the role of healthcare in a society driven by profit and political agendas.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Advocate for Transparency: Transparency is crucial in both the 340B drug discount program and abortion access debates. By demanding transparency from drugmakers regarding their sales restrictions and from lawmakers regarding their intentions behind abortion bans, we can better understand the motivations at play and hold those responsible accountable.
  • 2. Support Nonprofit Healthcare Providers: Nonprofit hospitals and clinics play a vital role in providing care to underserved populations. By supporting these organizations through donations, volunteering, or advocating for increased funding, we can help ensure that the 340B program's intended beneficiaries continue to receive the medications they need.
  • 3. Engage in Political Activism: The battle for abortion access is ultimately a political one. Engaging in political activism, such as participating in grassroots movements, attending town hall meetings, or contacting elected officials, can contribute to shaping policies that protect reproductive rights and ensure access to safe and legal abortions.


The intersections between drug discount programs and abortion access reveal the complex dynamics of healthcare in the United States. As drugmakers restrict sales in the 340B program and states enforce bans or protections on abortion access, it becomes evident that profit motives and political ideologies can impact the well-being of vulnerable populations. By advocating for transparency, supporting nonprofit healthcare providers, and engaging in political activism, individuals can contribute to a more equitable and accessible healthcare system for all.

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