Efforts to pass federal drug pricing legislation, pronounced dead by many last week, arose in time for Halloween.
Liberal and conservative congressional Democrats and the White House reportedly are still trying to strike a deal centered on letting Medicare negotiate some drug prices and requiring drug manufacturers to pay the government rebates if prices of drugs reimbursed by Medicare rise faster than inflation. Last week, due to their failure to come together, Democrats removed all drug pricing language from their Build Back Better social, economic, and climate policy bill.
340B covered entities remain worried that the Build Back Better bill will include language that would end their ability to bill privately-run Medicaid managed care plans at above acquisition cost for 340B-purchased drugs. 340B pharmacies are already prohibited from billing fee-for-service Medicaid above acquisition cost. Last Thursday, the House Budget Committee released the bill to enact the Build Back Better agenda. It excluded the Medicaid managed care “spread pricing” language that covered entities feared.
The House Rules Committee also released its version of the same bill last Thursday with multiple changes, including a new 340B wrinkle—previously unseen language to prevent duplicate 340B discounts and Medicaid rebates on drugs dispensed to Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees. Provider representatives are still studying the language.
The Rules Committee began debating the bill last week but adjourned without approving a rule to govern floor debate. As of this morning, it had not scheduled a date to resume consideration of the bill.