340B Health

7 Groups Representing Hospitals and Pharmacists Ask Azar to Enforce 340B Rules

in 340B Health News Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Seven national associations representing hospitals and pharmacists have written to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asking him to prevent pharmaceutical companies from undermining the 340B drug pricing program.

Five major drug manufacturers have taken recent action to limit access to discounts required under 340B. “If left unaddressed, these actions will open the way for other drug manufacturers to deny discounts for other products,” the groups say.

AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly have told 340B hospitals, health centers, and clinics that they will no longer charge the 340B discount price for some or all of their drugs when they are dispensed by community-based pharmacies. Merck, Novartis, and Sanofi have written to these safety-net providers demanding claims data for all commercially insured, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D patients filling prescriptions in a 340B contract pharmacy.

The letter, signed by 340B Health, America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association says these actions are “clearly contrary to the intent of the 340B program and will result in significant harm to the millions of patients and communities who rely on providers that participate in the program for their care.”

The 340B statute requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to sell covered outpatient prescription drugs at discount prices to eligible providers. The savings from those discounts are invested in care for patients with low incomes and those living in underserved rural communities. The savings support free or low-cost drugs, HIV/AIDS care, trauma centers, and burn centers.

The associations are asking Azar to use his authority to enforce the statute and order the drug makers to comply with the law. “This is particularly critical now as these hospitals need every resource available to care for their patients in vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” the groups note.

Contact: Richard Sorian at richard.sorian@340bhealth.org or 202-536-2285.