Trump Pardons Disgraced 340B Critic

Ex-Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) speaking to reporters in August 2018 about insider trading charges filed against him. Collins, a critic of 340B hospitals, ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve 26 months in prison. | Source: C-SPAN

Trump Pardons Disgraced 340B Critic

Outgoing President Donald Trump last night granted a full pardon to ex-U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who last year pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit securities fraud and making false statements to the FBI, and was serving a 26-month federal prison sentence. Before his indictment, Collins helped lead House Republican efforts to curb the 340B program.

Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president. He was a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the 340B program. While in Congress, Collins reportedly was the largest investor in and remained an officer of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biopharmaceutical company. In 2017, while attending a Rose Garden event, Collins got a call from Innate telling him the company’s single product, an experimental drug to treat multiple sclerosis, had failed a clinical trial. Illegal calls Collins made to family members warning them to dump their Innate stocks, which would soon be worthless, led to his downfall.

During his tenure on the E&C Committee, he introduced or sponsored four different bills to significantly curtail the 340B program. 

In 2019, Collins introduced a bill that that would have significantly narrowed the 340B patient definition for hospitals, including disallowing 340B discounts on infused drugs, for discharge prescriptions, and for drugs dispensed to hospital employees. It would also have prohibited 340B discounts for inmates.

The bill would have also:

  • imposed a moratorium on private, nonprofit hospital enrollment in 340B pending development of new requirements on provision of charity care

  • imposed a moratorium on 340B contract pharmacy arrangements

  • limited hospitals to five contract pharmacies

  • required hospitals to establish a patient sliding fee scale for 340B drugs

  • required hospitals to pay a user fee to participate in the 340B program.

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