243 Members of Congress sign letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding that the agency stop drug companies from violating their legal obligations under the 340B Drug Discount Program statute
WASHINGTON (September 15, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) expressed its appreciation to the 243 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who sent a letter to U.S. Health and Humans Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding that the agency stop drug companies from violating their legal obligations under the 340B Drug Discount Program statute.
“Drug companies are not above the law,” said Tom Myers, general counsel and chief of public affairs for AHF. AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis and Sanofi recently announced that they would limit their statutory responsibility to provide drug discounts to non-profit safety net providers,” Myers added, “The 340B statute certainly doesn’t allow drug companies to set conditions for safety net providers to access 340B discounts. Their idea that manufacturers can unilaterally regulate the program themselves is ridiculous and has been rejected by 243 members of Congress.”
“This rare bipartisan message to the Health and Human Services Department says to drug companies: ‘Back off!’” said John Hassell, national director of advocacy for AHF. “While members of Congress are often divided on policy, this letter sends a strong message that Congress supports the 340B program and will not tolerate drug manufacturers making up the rules.” He added, “the letter demands that Secretary Azar take immediate action to ‘ensure covered entities continue to receive crucial 340B drug discounts.’”
“The funds safety net providers realize through the 340B program, which they use to increase vitally-needed medical services, don’t cost the taxpayers a single cent. 340B discounts are a sliver of the overall Medicare and Medicaid market from which drug companies reap record profits every quarter,” said Tracy Jones, senior manager national director of mobilization campaigns for AHF. “340B savings keep our doors open, keep people living with HIV in routine care, and help strengthen our healthcare safety net already under tremendous stress.”
“This troubling move by drug companies against non-profit safety net providers is a sign that ‘big pharma’ hasn’t given up trying to strangle the 340B program. AHF is delighted to see the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives defend 340B,” said Hassell.