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Sen. Moran urges HHS to address companies undermining drug pricing program

(Source: CNN)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 3:22 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - U.S. Senator Jerry Moran is joining a bipartisan effort urging Health and Human Services to address pharmaceutical companies undermining a federal program.

Senator Jerry Moran says he joined a bipartisan group of Senators calling for a hasty response from the Health Resources and Services Administration addressing pharmaceutical companies threatening to undermine the 340B Drug Pricing Program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Sen. Moran, the 340B program requires companies to sell discounted prescription drugs to safety-net hospitals, rural health facilities and other entities providing care in underserved communities. He said savings from the program ensure the “covered entities” are able to continue serving their patients. However, he said drug manufacturers have recently announced new requirements and limitations on eligible entities within the program.

Sen. Moran said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the group of Senators urged the administration to take immediate action to put a stop to the tactics and ensure safety-net providers are able to continue providing life-saving medications to patients across the country.

“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,” Moran said 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.”

According to Sen. Moran, the letter was led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and was signed by Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Shelle Moore Capito of West Virginia, John Thune of South Dakota, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Patty Murray of Washington, Susan Collins of Maine, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jon Tester of Montana, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Gary Peters of Michigan, John Boozman of Arkansas, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Mark Warner of Virginia, Roger Wiker of Mississippi, Angus King of Maine, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Chuck Schumer of New York, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

“The AHA thanks this bipartisan group of senators for their important effort to protect the 340B program, and the vulnerable communities it benefits, from big drug companies' efforts to harm the program,” said Tom Nickels, AHA Executive Vice President. “The AHA continues to call on the Department of Health and Human Services to take action against drug companies and to protect the patients and communities the 340B program helps serve.”

“The AAMC appreciates Senators from both sides of the aisle working together to protect the 340B program and patients,” said Karen Fisher, JD, Chief Public Policy Officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “Particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unwarranted that several major drug companies are attempting to undermine this important program that allows safety-net hospitals, including many teaching hospitals, to provide critical health care services to vulnerable patients in communities across the country.”

“340B has a long history of bipartisan support in Congress. Drug companies must stop denying discounts on expensive outpatient drugs in violation of the 340B statute,” said Maureen Testoni, President and CEO of 340B Health. “We appreciate the efforts of these Senate leaders in making that message crystal clear.”

To read the full letter, click here.

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