Conservative Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) has endorsed and appeared in a campaign advertisement for Republican Rep. David McKinley (W.Va.), a moderate being challenged for re-election by a candidate endorsed by ex-President Donald Trump.
The GOP primary between McKinley and Rep. Alex Mooney is next Tuesday and early voting has already started. Because West Virginia lost a House seat due to reapportionment, the two incumbents are facing off in a redrawn congressional district.
McKinley has a long record of support for 340B covered entities. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the 340B program.
He is the co-sponsor with Democrat Peter Welch (Vt.) of a bill to give rural and free-standing cancer hospitals access to 340B pricing on orphan drugs when the medicines are used for common conditions or diseases. He and Democrat Abigail Spanberger (Va.) are the co-sponsors of the 340B PROTECT Act, which would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and other third-party payers from paying 340B providers below-market rates or engaging in other perceived discriminatory contracting practices.
McKinley and Spanberger belong to a bipartisan group of six House members that urged the federal government in January to impose civil monetary penalties against drug manufacturers that deny 340B pricing to covered entities when they use more than one contract pharmacy. In March 2021, the same six lawmakers got a bipartisan group of 220 other House members to sign a letter to then-acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran seeking immediate action against manufacturers imposing conditions on 340B pricing.
McKinley belonged to a slightly different bipartisan group of six House members that sponsored legislation to keep hospitals from losing eligibility for 340B discounts because of changes in patient and payer mix caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress passed and President Biden signed an appropriations bill with such language in March.
Former President Trump has attacked McKinley for supporting the creation of a 9/11 style bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan 6., 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump has also criticized McKinley for being one of small group of Republican lawmakers to support the infrastructure law that was signed by President Biden in November. McKinley says it will bring more than $700 million to the rural state and notes the law was supported by both Manchin and GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.