MORE THAN 1,100 HOSPITALS URGE HHS TO HALT ATTEMPTS TO UNDERMINE THE 340B DRUG PRICING PROGRAM
WASHINGTON, D.C.— More than 1,100 hospitals participating in the 340B drug pricing program today sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar calling for the department to stop pharmaceutical manufacturers from refusing to offer drugs to safety-net providers at the discounted prices that federal law requires.
The 340B statute mandates that manufacturers provide covered outpatient drugs at or below what is known as the 340B ceiling price to hospitals, health centers, and clinics when prescribed to eligible patients. But several drug companies have started cutting off covered entities’ access to these discounts on drugs dispensed through community-based pharmacies. Eli Lilly has stopped offering hospitals the discounts in these situations on all its 340B products, with a highly limited exception for insulin products. AstraZeneca has announced it soon will do the same for all its 340B drugs. And three other manufacturers (Merck, Sanofi, and Novartis) have threatened to block access to discounts in the same way – or take other drastic action – if covered entities do not turn over vast amounts of patient claims data that the companies have no legal authorization to demand.
Together, the five drug manufacturers produce some of the costliest and most frequently prescribed drugs that hospitals use to treat their patients with chronic diseases, including cancer and diabetes. The hundreds of safety-net hospitals signing the letter to Azar rely on the savings they obtain through 340B program discounts to provide crucial care to patients in need throughout the nation.
“These collective actions to deny access to 340B pricing are clear violations of the 340B statute that will set a dangerous precedent,” the letter states. “The statute requires manufacturers to provide the 340B discounts to entities that meet 340B’s strict eligibility requirements and does not grant them the ability to condition the discounts or otherwise create barriers to covered entities' ability to access the discounts. If the administration permits pharmaceutical companies to continue these practices, 340B hospitals will face increased difficulties serving high volumes of patients living with low incomes in our rural and urban communities.”
340B Health President and CEO Maureen Testoni noted that the hospital letter represents some of the key voices in a large and growing chorus of opposition to pharmaceutical manufacturers’ unlawful attacks against 340B.
“We are witnessing a unified show of support not only for the patients in need who rely on 340B hospitals, but also for the enforcement of the 340B statute that ensures hospitals can offer them the comprehensive care they need,” Testoni said. “We call on Secretary Azar to use his authority to demonstrate the administration’s commitment to health care safety net patients by stopping drug companies from flouting their obligations under federal law.”
Contact: Richard Sorian at email@example.com or 202-536-2285.