Moran calls for 340B Drug Pricing Program enforcement

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) last week joined several of his U.S. Senate colleagues in expressing concerns about recent actions by pharmaceutical manufacturers that they say threaten to undermine the role of contract pharmacies in the 340B Drug Pricing Program during the coronavirus pandemic.

Manufacturers participating in Medicaid agree to provide outpatient drugs to covered entities at significantly reduced prices under the 340B Drug Pricing Program, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 

However, several companies, including Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca, recently announced they would no longer allow 340B covered entities to receive discounts for products that are shipped to a contract pharmacy, with an exception for insulin, or would refuse 340B pricing to hospitals with on-site pharmacies for any drugs dispensed through contract pharmacies, according to a Sept. 17 letter Sen. Moran and his colleagues sent to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. 

“In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where providers have seen drops in revenue and available resources, it is critically important that 340B covered entities, including federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), FQHC Look-Alikes, children’s hospitals, Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics, and other safety-net hospitals and providers are able to continue to serve the individuals who seek out their care,” the senators wrote. “As these threats to the program progress, we fear the potential exacerbation of these shortfalls in resources for providers at a time when they are needed most.”

Sen. Moran and the senators called on Azar to take immediate enforcement action to halt their tactics and ensure safety-net providers are able to continue providing life-saving medications to patients across the country.

“For covered entities, and in particular rural hospitals and other rural covered entities that rely disproportionately on contract pharmacies, these changes could have long-lasting repercussions that will challenge a covered entity’s ability to support its community now during this pandemic and in the future,” according to their letter.

Among the lawmakers who joined Sen. Moran in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

The letter is supported by the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Association of Medical Colleges, and 340B Health, among others.