Be prepared for a lot more attention on the 340B program in the upcoming Congress, 340B Report Publisher and CEO Ted Slafsky says in his latest column for medication management solutions company Omnicell.
340B was a hot topic in Congress from 2016 to 2018 when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate, Slafsky notes in his Dec. 9 article. But little in the way of 340B legislation besides the bipartisan 340B Protect Act was introduced or debated during the next four years of Democratic control. Starting in January, the GOP will control the House but only by a handful of seats. Democrats will control the Senate 51-49.
GOP lawmakers, particularly in the U.S House, are expected to focus attention on what they believe to be lack of transparency in the use of 340B savings by 340B hospitals. There will also be renewed efforts to scale back the scope of the 340B program, a long-time goal of the pharmaceutical industry and other 340B critics.
At the same time, with the 340B contract pharmacy standoff at the 2 1/2 year mark and concern growing that the courts will not resolve the matter expeditiously, 340B providers are increasingly frustrated, Slafsky says. “I would not be surprised to see a serious bipartisan effort at ending the contract pharmacy impasse in the coming months,” he says. “If that occurs, all parties, particularly drug manufacturers and hospitals, will need to be prepared to make concessions.”
Slafsky in the column also profiles congressional committee leaders who will have a say about any such legislation and what their positions are on the program.