McKinley Leads Bipartisan Effort to Stand Up for Rural Patients, Hospitals

Bipartisan Letter to HHS Secretary Expresses Concerns About Recent Attacks on the 340B Drug Pricing Program

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Washington, September 14, 2020 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Peter Welch (D-VT), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Doris Matsui (D-CA), led a group of 243 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting an immediate response is taken to ensure covered safety net providers continue to receive crucial 340B drug discounts.

Recently, several major drug manufacturers announced that they will limit or restrict federally required 340B drug discounts for eligible health care organizations. These providers rely on 340B savings to ensure access to care for low-income and rural patients.

“Protecting access to prescription drugs for underserved communities should be a top priority. Unfortunately, the big pharmaceutical companies’ recent actions to restrict 340B drug discounts could jeopardize the ability of hospitals to provide vital services to vulnerable populations,” said Rep. McKinley. “Our letter shows strong bipartisan opposition to this action, and hopefully will convince HHS to intervene.”

“Drug manufacturers are flouting their statutory obligations by restricting access to safe, affordable medications for low-income Americans who also are among those most affected by COVID-19,” said Bruce Siegel MD, MPH, President and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “We thank the nearly 250 House members led by Reps. McKinley, DeGette, Gianforte, Welch, Johnson, and Matsui, for their swift action to urge the administration to stop big pharma’s ill-timed and illegal efforts to narrow the 340B program.”

Read the full letter click here.

Background:

Since 1992, the 340B program has used mandated discounts offered by drug manufacturers to help hospitals and other covered entities provide discounted drugs and lifesaving services to their patients.

During McKinley’s time in Congress, he has consistently fought to protect the 340B Drug Pricing Program:

  • On November 1, 2017, CMS cut the reimbursement rate for Medicare Part B drugs purchased by certain hospitals covered under the 340B program by around $1.6B. Last Congress, McKinley introduced H.R. 4392, which would completely negate the effects of this rule.
  • Led a bipartisan letter sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging the administration to withdraw its harmful proposal to cut the 340B Drug Pricing Program. This letter was signed by 228 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who understand that protecting access to affordable care is a top priority.

The letter is supported by: 340B Health, AEH, AAMC, AHA, Catholic Health Association, NRHA, Ryan White Clinics For 340B Access, Wellforce, NACHC, CommonSpirit Health, Denver Health, Colorado Community Health Network, National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals, St. Luke's University Health Network, West Virginia University Health System, Greater New York Hospital Association, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania, and Kintegra Health.

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