Nearly 280 House and Senate Members Write to HHS with 340B Concerns

September 17, 2020

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), concerned about new attacks on the 340B Drug Discount Program. The concern follows announcements from some drug manufacturers alerting 340B entities they will be eliminating discounts for 340B drugs dispensed at contract pharmacies and others asking hospitals and other providers to submit large volumes of data that are not required under the federal 340B statute. The letter signed by 246 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives was sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Joining the letter from Wisconsin were Representatives Kind, Moore, Pocan, Gallagher, Grothman, and Steil. Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin also led a similar bipartisan letter with 28 U.S. Senators expressing concerns with these actions that threaten the 340B program.
The 340B discount drug program requires drug manufacturers to sell certain outpatient drugs at a discount to hospitals and other providers that treat a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients as well as uninsured and low-income patients. WHA has made protecting the 340B program a top priority over the last few years.
The actions announced by drug manufacturers could significantly undermine the 340B program, particularly as more hospitals and other providers have relied on contractual relationships with pharmacies to dispense 340B drugs for hospital patients. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has long allowed these contract pharmacies to process prescriptions for 340B hospitals, recognizing that they can improve efficiency and make it easier for low income patients to obtain prescriptions rather than relying on 340B program participants to process all prescriptions through their in-house pharmacies.
WHA is continuing its advocacy efforts on this issue and will be sending a coalition letter from Wisconsin 340B hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), and Ryan White clinics to HHS to amplify concerns from Wisconsin’s broader health care community. Please contact Jon Hoelter, WHA’s Director of Federal and State Relations, for more information or if you would like to be added to this coalition letter.

This story originally appeared in the September 17, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter