A federal district judge will hold a joint hearing in October on drug makers’ Novartis and United Therapeutics’ 340B contract pharmacy lawsuits.

Judge Consolidates Arguments in Two 340B Contract Pharmacy Lawsuits

A federal district judge will hold a joint hearing in October on drug makers’ Novartis and United Therapeutics’ (UT) lawsuits challenging the government’s findings in May that the two companies’ 340B contract pharmacy policies are unlawful.

In a short unpublished order on July 15, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich announced her decision to expedite consideration of the companies’ and the government’s cross motions for summary judgement in both cases, and to hear arguments on those motions simultaneously at a later date. It is unclear whether Friedrich plans ultimately to issue just one ruling on the merits in both cases, or one in each lawsuit.

Friedrich on July 9 ordered the parties in the Novartis and UT lawsuits to confer and let her know if they consented to consolidate consideration of the cases. The government and the manufacturers filed their responses on July 14.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) sent Novartis and UT separate letters on May 17 informing them that their restrictions on 340B pricing when covered entities use contract pharmacies violate the 340B statute and have resulted in overcharges. Both companies are challenging HRSA’s findings and seeking preliminary injunctions barring HRSA from enforcing its conclusions, including imposition of civil monetary penalties.