340B health care providers are hopeful that U.S. health secretary Xavier Becerra will sanction six drug manufacturers that have either stopped providing 340B discounts or placed restrictions on 340B pricing in the contract pharmacy setting, 340B Report Publisher and CEO Ted Slafsky writes this week in his latest column for Omnicell.
Slafsky devotes much of his April 13 column to recapping the many twists and turns in federal courts from coast to coast over the boundaries of federal power to make the drug companies offer 340B pricing on their products, without regard to how those drugs are dispensed.
Providers don’t have the luxury of time to resolve lost discounts, Slafsky says.
“340B providers have now gone more than six months without being able to access much needed drug discounts, leading to disruption in patient care, service reductions and job losses,” Slafsky writes. Rural hospitals are especially dependent on revenue from 340B contract pharmacy, he points out. Seventy percent of rural hospitals say that drug cost savings from the 340B contract pharmacy program helps keep their doors open, a recent 340B Health survey found.
“The 340B contract pharmacy program has been well established for 25 years now, and 340B provider groups feel strongly that HHS has the authority to immediately sanction the six drug manufacturers who have flouted the 340B law,” Slafsky says. With Becerra’s confirmation, “we are hopeful he will take speedy and decisive action to block this ongoing assault on the safety net mission.”