McKinley Applauds Decision to Hold Pharmaceutical Companies Accountable, Protect Affordable Medicine

Agency Takes Action to Protect 340b Drug Pricing Program That Helps Safety-Net Providers and Patients After McKinley Urged Them To

Washington, D.C. - Earlier this week, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced they sent letters to six pharmaceutical manufacturers stating that their policies have resulted in overcharges and are in direct violation of the law.  To read the letters, click here.  

This decision stems from U.S. Representative David B. McKinley leading 225 of his colleagues in a bipartisan effort in defending the integrity of the 340B Drug Pricing Program from reckless changes that have led to significant prescription drug cost hikes for West Virginia healthcare providers and the people they serve. The letter was sent in February 2021, click here to read the letter.

“The 340b drug pricing program is a vital part of many rural and undeserved areas. Without it many providers would not be able to provide vital services to the communities they serve,” McKinley said. “Yet, actions taken by big pharmaceutical companies and middlemen have jeopardized the ability of hospitals to provide critical services. We applaud HRSA’s action in holding these drug companies accountable.”

“The Administration’s actions yesterday began with Rep. McKinley and other congressional 340B champions who, along with hundreds of members of Congress, sent a strong message that Congress would not tolerate drug companies rewriting the law for their own benefit,” said Shannon Stephenson, CPA, MBA, CEO of Cempa, President of Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access (RWC-340B).  “Against all odds and fierce opposition, Rep. McKinley has been stalwart in his defense of the 340B program, working tirelessly for many years in a bipartisan fashion to stand up loudly and proudly to defend safety net healthcare providers and the communities we serve.”   

“Thanks to the leadership of lawmakers like Representative McKinley, safety-net hospitals are finally seeing the light at the end of this dark tunnel. We applaud HRSA’s action and encourage them to make sure these drug companies repay every dollar owed,” said Maureen Testoni, 340B Health President and CEO.

“From the beginning of his tenure, Rep. McKinley has long understood the importance of Community Health Centers to West Virginia and across the country,” said Colleen Meiman, National Policy Advisor for State Associations of Community Health Centers.  “He also recognized drug companies’ threat to Community Health Centers, which is why he has taken action to protect the 340B program to benefit CHCs and the patients they serve as Congress intended.  We are deeply grateful for his 340B initiative and other actions to benefit Community Health Centers.”

“We are pleased and grateful HHS is holding drug manufacturers accountable for their unlawful practices, which have jeopardized access to affordable drugs in our most underserved communities. We also thank Rep. McKinley and our other congressional champions for their leadership to strengthen the 340B program and the nation’s health care safety net,” said Margaret Peterson, America’s Essential Hospitals.

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.

Last summer, some drug manufacturers stopped honoring 340B discounts for drugs dispensed through pharmacies that contracted with 340B providers, dramatically increasing the price of those drugs for vulnerable patients and providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, HHS’s General Counsel published an advisory opinion that the manufacturers’ price hikes on safety net providers are unlawful under the 340B statute.

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

  • On September 28, 2017, McKinley 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.
  • 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.
  • On September 14, 2020, McKinley 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.

 

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