28 State AGs Demand HHS Sec. Azar Enforce Laws on 340B Drug Pricing
During height of coronavirus pandemic, nine rogue drug companies announce they are refusing to provide certain drugs at the legally required ‘340B price’ as required by section 340B of the U.S. Health Services Act
California AG Xavier Becerra, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be next HHS Secretary, is among the signers of letter to outgoing HHS Secretary Alex Azar asking he address drug companies’ refusal to follow drug pricing laws
WASHINGTON (December 14, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) praised 28 U.S. state attorneys general who have drawn a line in the sand to protect an essential part of the healthcare safety net: the 340B Drug Pricing Program against the limitless greed of the drug industry. In their December 14 letter, the bipartisan group of elected attorneys general demand that U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar take immediate steps to enforce the law “to address drug companies’ unlawful refusal to provide critical drug discounts to covered entities such as community health centers under the 340B Drug Pricing Program.”
The attorneys generally eloquently stated,
“Each day that drug manufacturers violate their statutory obligations, vulnerable patients and their healthcare centers are deprived of the essential healthcare resources that Congress intended to provide. Drug manufacturers are, without justification, flouting discounted pricing requirements for low-income patients and/or unreasonably conditioning 340B pricing on data demands, depriving such patients of affordable medications to the detriment of the health centers and hospitals that serve these vulnerable communities. During a national public health crisis, these actions are especially egregious and cannot be ignored…”
“This bipartisan group of elected officials from every region of the United States in no uncertain terms have said to these companies that their actions are unlawful. We are particularly encouraged that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, signed the letter to put these greedy companies on notice that he will defend the program,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “AHF is grateful to each of them for standing up for a program that costs taxpayers nothing and strengthens the country’s health care safety net when it is under unprecedented stress.”
340B is a lifeline that allows nonprofit safety net providers, such as rural hospitals and HIV/AIDS clinics receiving funding through federal programs, to obtain prescription drugs at below-retail prices. It was established with bipartisan support as part of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. With 340B savings, Ryan White HIV clinics and other covered entities are able to stretch their grant funds, offer a wider range of services, and improve the quality of care for under-insured vulnerable populations, such as people living with HIV.
According to the outlet, 340B Report, Connecticut Attorney General Tong (D) co-led the bipartisan coalition of state law officials withBecerra, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt (R), and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (R). The other states represented are Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
AHF has repeatedly criticized these nine drug companies whose actions the AGs are calling “unlawful.” (See press statement: ‘AHF Blasts Amgen Over Drug Restrictions; Asks Biden Admin. to Sanction It and Others.’)