U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) has announced he is joining a bipartisan group of senators calling on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to address pharmaceutical companies’ undermining of the 340B drug pricing program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 340B program requires pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted prescription drugs to safety-net hospitals, rural health facilities, and other entities that provide care in underserved communities. The savings from the program help those healthcare facilities to serve their patients.
The Senators said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that drug manufacturers have announced changes to the 340B program, in that they would no longer allow covered facilities with contract pharmacies to receive discounts. Rural hospitals disproportionately rely on contract pharmacies, the Senators wrote, which would have long-lasting repercussions on those hospitals’ ability to provide services to their communities.
The senators urged Azar to take immediate steps to halt the changes and ensure those “safety-net” providers can continue providing those medications to their patients.
“In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where providers have seen drops in revenue and available resources, it is critically important that 340B covered entities, including federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), FQHC Look-Alikes, children’s hospitals, Ryan White HIV/AIDS clinics, and other safety-net hospitals and providers are able to continue to serve the individuals who seek out their care,” the senators wrote. “As these threats to the Program progress, we fear the potential exacerbation of these shortfalls in resources for providers at a time when they are needed most.”
This bipartisan effort is supported by the American Hospital Association (AHA), America’s Essential Hospitals, American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), and 340B Health, as well as many health providers across Kansas who rely on this program to provide services to patients.