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Hospital groups urged two federal appeals court to back the government in its fight to force Lilly and AstraZeneca to end restrictions on 340B pricing when covered entities use contract pharmacies.

Hospital Groups Cite Supreme Court Decision in Latest Briefs Backing Feds in Lilly and AstraZeneca 340B Cases

Five groups that represent 340B hospitals have filed briefs in two federal appeals courts backing the federal government in its fight to force drug manufacturers Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca to end restrictions on 340B drug discounts when covered entities use contract pharmacies.

American Hospital Association, 340B Health, America’s Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Children’s Hospital Association filed their joint amicus brief in the lawsuit over Lilly’s 340B policy on July 1. The case is before the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

The same five groups filed a joint amicus brief on June 28 in the dispute over AstraZeneca’s 340B policy. That case is being heard by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

In May, the hospital groups filed amicus briefs backing the federal government in the lawsuit over Novartis and United Therapeutics’ 340B contract pharmacy restrictions and the lawsuit over Sanofi and Novo Nordisk’s restrictions. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. is hearing the Novartis and United Therapeutics cases, which have been consolidated. The third Circuit Court is hearing the consolidated Sanofi and Novo Nordisk cases.

The hospital groups in their latest briefs urge the appeals courts to hold that Lilly and AstraZeneca “must offer 340B discounted drugs to 340B providers, regardless of whether these vital medicines are being dispensed in-house or through outside pharmacies, as [the companies] previously did for 24 years.”

Both briefs cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 15 opinion that huge cuts in 340B hospitals’ Medicare Part B drug reimbursement in 2018 and 2019 were unlawful.

The hospital groups said the high court “noted that Congress has been aware of how the 340B program is operating” and “explained that Congress did nothing to change the statute to address certain alleged concerns, so the only answer would be to ‘ask Congress to change the law.’”

“Congress has done nothing to amend the [340B] statute in all the years covered entities have been using contract pharmacies,” the groups argued. The groups said it is clear that “absent any statutory change,” neither Lilly or AstraZeneca “may take matters into its own hands and deny 340B discounts to 340B providers.”

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