WHA, More Than 70 Health Care Leaders Push Back on Drug Manufacturers’ 340B Actions

October 01, 2020

WHA, joined by more than 70 hospital and health system leaders, the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, Vivent Health, Federally Qualified Health Centers and others wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar that they have significant concerns with recent actions by drug manufacturers that could undermine the federal 340B discount drug program. The letter focused on recent announcements by drug manufacturers Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Merck, Sanofi, and Novartis that they would either deny federally mandated drug discounts at contract pharmacies or require participants to furnish extensive information that is otherwise not required under the 340B statute.
The Wisconsin health care coalition letter notes that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has long recognized the important role contract pharmacies play in dispensing drugs for safety-net providers under the 340B program and that covered entities often contract with multiple pharmacies to improve efficiencies, save costs, and expand patient choice – often by increasing access to prescription drugs for patients in rural or underserved communities. The letter also notes that drug companies enjoy some of the highest profits in health care and yet are working to increase prices for safety-net health care providers during a pandemic that has created both significant patient care and financial challenges for those providers.
In related news, HHS sent a letter to Eli Lilly on September 21 noting that although HRSA’s review is ongoing, it has significant concerns with certain actions by Eli Lilly related to the 340B program. The letter from HHS General Counsel Robert Charrow warns Eli Lilly of potential litigation if the drug manufacturer “knowingly violates a material condition of the program that results in overcharges to grantees and contractors.”
Contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter for more information about WHA’s work on behalf of its members to protect the integrity of the 340B program.

This story originally appeared in the October 01, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter