MAJORITY OF U.S. HOUSE BACKS EFFORTS TO PROTECT 340B FROM UNLAWFUL DRUG COMPANY ACTIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 26, 2021— A bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today called on the administration to bring a swift end to prescription drug company actions that undermine the 340B drug pricing program and hurt the safety-net hospitals and patients who rely on them for care.
A group of 226 House members from both sides of the political aisle today sent a letter to Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Norris Cochran. The letter urges HHS to take immediate enforcement action against drug companies that have cut off 340B discounts for drugs dispensed at community-based pharmacies and to penalize the manufacturers for overcharging hospitals and other 340B covered entities. It also asks the department to block recent efforts to replace the longstanding, upfront 340B discount model with a retroactive rebate system. The lawmakers sent a copy of the letter to HHS Secretary-nominee Xavier Becerra, who has expressed strong support for the 340B program as California’s attorney general and in confirmation hearings this week before two U.S. Senate committees.
“Many covered entities are struggling with severe financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the House letter states. “They cannot afford to be unfairly targeted by large pharmaceutical corporations or be forced to pay higher up-front costs for the drugs their patients need.”
Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and David McKinley (R-W.V.) spearheaded the bipartisan congressional effort, as they did for a similar 340B letter in the previous Congress that also gained the support of more than half of House members. 340B Health member hospitals helped mobilize both letter campaigns.
“A bipartisan majority has spoken loudly and clearly. It is time to stop the unlawful actions of these drug companies at the expense of safety-net hospitals and their patients,” said 340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni. “We thank Reps. Spanberger and McKinley for their tremendous work leading this effort.”
This latest strong showing of support for safety-net providers and patients comes as six drug manufacturers continue to defy federal regulators and ignore the 340B statute by refusing to offer mandated discounts on drugs dispensed at community pharmacies.
“Through a series of joint letters, congressional testimony, and legal filings, it has become abundantly clear that safety-net providers, patient advocates, members of Congress, and senior government officials agree that this drug company behavior is both unlawful and unconscionable,” Testoni said.
Contact: Richard Sorian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-536-2285.