The dumping of a controversial Trump administration rule limiting what 340B health centers can charge patients for insulin and EpiPen-type devices took a big step closer to being finalized last week.
Late last week Thursday, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) asked the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance to rescind the Trump administration final rule requiring health centers to pass along all their 340B savings on insulin and injectable epinephrine to uninsured or underinsured low-income patients.
It likely will take OMB a month or more to give HRSA the go-ahead to formally rescind the rule.
HRSA under Trump published a final rule implementing the policy in late December 2020. It was due to take effect on Jan. 22. The Biden administration in one of its first acts delayed its implementation, first to March 22, then again to July 20. On June 16, HRSA proposed rescinding the rule “due to undue administrative costs and burdens that implementation would impose on health centers.” Comments were due on July 16.
President Trump and his health secretary Alex Azar—the latter the former president of insulin manufacturer Lilly USA—pitched the rule as a response to the high cost of insulin and EpiPens. Health centers pointed out in their comments to HRSA that targeted patients already got insulin and EpiPens from them for free or at a price they can afford. They also said Trump and Azar’s rule had no impact on what manufacturers charge for insulin and epinephrine autoinjectors.
Lilly opposed rescinding the rule in its comments. “Patients need to be returned to center of the 340B program,” it said.