HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told a House committee today "We are on this one" in reference to drug companies denying 340B pricing on their products.

Breaking News

Breaking: Becerra, on 340B Pricing Denials, Tells House Panel, “Everyone Has to Follow the Law”

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra told a member of Congress during a hearing this morning “We are on this one” when asked about six drug manufacturers’ denials of 340B drug discounts when covered entities use contract pharmacies to dispense the products.

Becerra was testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee about his department’s budget request for the fiscal year that starts in October. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said to him, “Six pharma companies, I believe illegally, are not passing on the discounts required under the 340B program.”

“Is it your intention to enforce continued access to the discounts for community hospitals and community health centers?” Welch asked.

Sec. Becerra: “We are on this one, as we know that vulnerable populations are at risk. And so, everyone, I’ve been saying all along: We have to follow the law, and everyone has to follow the law.”

During a Senate hearing in February, in response to a question about the depth of his knowledge about 340B, Becerra similarly said, “What we must do is make sure that the law is followed…. The first thing we have to do is enforce the laws we have in place.”

The drug companies denying 340B pricing on drugs shipped to contract pharmacies, or imposing conditions on 340B pricing, are Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, and United Therapeutics.

Also during today’s House hearing, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) told Becerra, indicating she did not expect a reply: “I want to take a minute to raise an issue I know you are familiar with—the ongoing actions of drug companies that have chosen to rewrite the 340B program to deny discounts dispensed through covered entities’ contract pharmacies. As you know, HHS has issued an advisory panel (presumably Rep. Matsui meant to say advisory opinion) concluding that these actions are illegal. Yet drug companies have made clear they do not intend to comply with the law. I along with over 220 of my House colleagues wrote a letter to you earlier this year outlining our strong opposition to these actions. 340B is essential to providing access to care to low-income and rural patients. I encourage you to take swift enforcement action to put a stop to these efforts to undermine the program.”

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) likewise said to Becerra, “I want to note the importance of the 340B program, how important it is to providing access to care for low-income and rural patients in my district. I encourage you to take swift action to protect that vital program.”

The E&C Committee held several contentious hearings about the 340B program in recent years, most of them when Republicans were the majority party, during which witnesses were asked sharp questions by members.

Editor at Large | Website | + posts
« Read Previous Read Next »
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

*Sign up for news summaries and alerts from 340B Report