Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is seeking a new director for its policy and research team to help develop and lead implementation of work on 340B and related hospital cost and affordability issues, according to an employment solicitation prepared by an executive search firm.
A PhRMA spokesperson said yesterday it is an existing position “that supports our ongoing work to ensure this important program lives up to its original intent and helps vulnerable patients access the medicines they need.”
The job pitch came to light amid what 340B covered entity advocates say is a clear increase in public messaging about 340B sympathetic to the drug industry point of view. The advocates say the volume and tone of recent studies, commentaries, and social media posts echoing the industry’s views on 340B remind them of 2017-18, when the Republican Party controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Dozens of 340B bills favorable to drug manufacturers were introduced during that time and congressional committee leaders held several hearings on the program. However, the legislation ultimately died largely to an aggressive lobbying effort by the 340B provider community. The Trump administration made drug industry supported-340B reform a top drug pricing priority and was able to enact significant Medicare Part B drug cuts to 340B hospitals. Other efforts, including requiring community health centers to bill all their patients for 340B purchased insulin and injectable epinephrine at acquisition cost, died.
Historically, an incumbent president’s party almost always suffers losses in midterm elections like the one coming up in November. Democrats currently control the House 221 to 208 (with 6 vacancies). The Senate is evenly divided with Vice President Kamala Harris (D) holding a tie-breaking vote. A House Republican task force is writing bills that Republicans can advance if the party takes the majority. Earlier this year, one of its subcommittees sought public input about the 340B program, including on eligibility requirements for hospitals and child sites, reporting requirements for all covered entities, independent audits of “some” covered entities and contract pharmacies, and policies to reduce 340B duplicate discounts.
The responsibilities of the job opening at PhRMA include:
- Serve as a subject matter expert on the 340B program and issues related to hospital pricing and access.
- Monitor current trends, research studies, and third-party policy analyses related to 340B and hospitals.
- Work closely with colleagues in other departments to support education and advocacy initiatives on 340B and related issues.
- Liaise with state colleagues to issue/spot state bills and support state advocacy efforts.
- Actively seek member company input on policy issues and identify areas of agreement among members.
- Act as internal point of contact on relevant subject matter areas and provide policy and legislative analysis for other departments including summaries of proposals, identification of significant changes or issues of importance to the sector and suggest potential alternatives.