The U.S. House voted this evening “to highlight the need to protect the integrity of the 340B program by halting pharmaceutical manufacturers’ unlawful actions that have resulted in overcharges to 340B covered entities.”
Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) offered the statement as an amendment to a seven-bill fiscal year 2022 spending package that includes funding for the 340B program and other health care programs.
The House is continuing to debate other amendments to the bill. A vote on final passage might be held tonight. The House considered and approved Spanberger and McKinley’s amendment by voice vote as part of a block of amendments to the “minibus” spending bill. In a voice vote, no vote is tallied and is usually reserved for non-controversial items. No member spoke in opposition to Spanberger and McKinley’s amendment.
“My 340B-related amendment sends a message to big pharmaceutical companies: Stop hiking drug prices on consumers and discriminating against our 340B providers and pharmacies,” Spanberger said in statement on the House floor.
340B covered entity representatives urged their contacts throughout the day to ask their House members to vote for the amendment. They said its purpose was to give House members a chance to show their support for entities and the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) in their fight against manufacturers’ denials of 340B pricing when entities use contract pharmacies to dispense drugs. Although the amendment does not require HHS or drug manufacturers to do anything, entities hope it will increase pressure on HHS to impose civil monetary penalties on drug makers withholding 340B discounts.
“This vote sends a clear signal—to HHS, the courts, and drug manufacturers—that Congress views drug manufacturers’ refusal to ship 340B drugs to contract pharmacies as unlawful and harmful to medically-underserved patients,” said Colleen Meiman, a policy adviser to state and regional primary care associations.
Spanberger and McKinley recently co-sponsored bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4390, that would bar insurers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and Medicare Part D plan sponsors from discriminating against 340B providers or their contract pharmacies. Their bill also would provide for imposition of civil monetary penalties on PBMs that violate the new protections and authorize the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to engage an independent contractor to review 340B covered entity claims data and state Medicaid rebate requests for duplicate discounts.