Today is the deadline for U.S. House members to sign a bipartisan letter asking U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) leaders to act against drug manufacturers denying 340B pricing on drugs, to halt attempts to turn 340B into a rebate program, and to seat the 340B administrative dispute resolution board immediately and begin processing petitions. The original deadline was Feb. 11.
The letter is being circulated by the same bipartisan group of six U.S. House members that got 217 total representatives last November—173 Democrats and 44 Republicans—to sign a letter opposing efforts to replace up-front 340B drug discounts with back-end rebates. The lawmakers are Reps. Abigail D. Spanberger (D-Va.), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.).
The letter, addressed to HHS Secretary-designate Xavier Becerra and copied to Acting Secretary Norris Cochran, says the Dec. 30 HHS advisory opinion that manufacturers must provide 340B discounts no matter how entities choose to dispense drugs “has not deterred manufacturers from continuing with unlawful price hikes.
“Many covered entities are struggling with severe financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter says. “They cannot afford to be unfairly targeted by large pharmaceutical corporations or be forced to pay higher up-front costs for the drugs their patients need.” The letter adds that efforts “to change the 340B program from one of upfront discounts to post-sale rebates” would “greatly increase costs for covered entities and give manufacturers tremendous leverage over covered entities.”