Maneuvers on the 340B Drug Pricing Program Battlefield: Duplicate Discounts and Contract Pharmacies

The contract pharmacy issue and the recent actions of drug manufacturers have also caught the attention of both parties in both chambers.

On September 14, 2020, a bipartisan group of more than 240 House lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary Azar condemning the drug manufacturer actions, as have several members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  As described by in a Press Release from Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E., a signatory to the September 14, 2020 letter, “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….Our letter shows strong bipartisan opposition to this action, and hopefully will convince HHS to intervene.”

In a September 15th letter, a group of Democratic senators asked PhRMA to stop what they allege are likely illegal moves by drug makers.  Finally, on September 17, 2020, a bipartisan group of 30 Senators sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to express their concerns regarding recent actions from pharmaceutical manufacturers that, “threaten to undermine the role of contract pharmacies in the 340B Drug Pricing Program.” Noting the increased importance of the 340B Program and the role of contract pharmacies during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Senators called upon HRSA to, “take immediate and appropriate enforcement action to halt [the drug manufacturer’s] tactics and ensure safety-net providers are able to continue providing life-saving medications to patients across the country.”

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