U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)—one of the most-engaged members of Congress on 340B matters—has announced he will seek an eighth Senate term in next year’s congressional elections.
Grassley, 88, is the Senate’s second-oldest member. (California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, also 88, is roughly three months older.) He announced his re-election campaign on Twitter on Sept. 24.
Grassley is the most senior Republican member of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid, and chaired it during the last session of Congress. He was unable to serve as ranking Republican during this session due to party term limits.
Grassley has a long record of 340B program oversight. He introduced legislation in 2018 that would have required hospitals to report how much they pay for drugs bought through 340B, and how much they receive for those drugs from third party payers. In 2013, he and five other Republican members of Congress criticized the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for what they believed was insufficient oversight of 340B covered entities.
A year earlier, Grassley and three other lawmakers asked 340B Health, Apexus, PhRMA, and BIO about their stewardship of 340B. In 2012, Grassley also sent letters to North Carolina hospitals and health systems about their use of 340B discounts. The highly publicized and controversial inquiry, which was perceived by 340B hospitals as unfair, eventually died down with no findings or reports. During this period, he also questioned Walgreens about its role as a 340B contract pharmacy.
Grassley also has occasionally inquired about drug manufacturers’ participation in 340B. In October 2020, he and fellow GOP senator from Iowa Joni Ernst met with top officials at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to share Iowa hospitals’ concerns about drug manufacturers’ denials of 340B pricing when covered entities use contract pharmacies.