The AAMC joined group letters on Sept. 24 with five other hospital associations to House and Senate leadership, House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committee leadership, and Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee leadership, expressing support for the 340B drug pricing program and urging that policies that would negatively impact the program not be included in the budget reconciliation package.
The letters note, “As you consider policies to curb the growth in drug prices, it is important to remember that 340B has been proven to be a mechanism to constrain drug price increases. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 340B has helped to slow the growth in drug prices for all drugs, including those purchased outside of the 340B program.”
They add, “At a time when hospitals around the country are facing increasing uncertainty from the ongoing pandemic, we ask Congress to provide certainty for hospitals that the 340B program will remain intact and that their program savings will not be limited in any way under the drug pricing policies currently being discussed.”
The letters highlight a specific concern about a provision included in previous drug pricing legislation that would negatively impact 340B by requiring Medicaid managed care organizations to pay for all retail pharmacy drugs based on actual acquisition costs, which would effectively eliminate 340B savings on those drugs. While this language was not included in the drug pricing legislation that the House recently marked up [refer to Washington Highlights, Sept. 17], the letter notes that it could still be considered by Congress as they move forward with the final package.
The letters conclude, “While we understand that drug pricing reform is necessary yet highly complex and challenging, we urge Congress to ensure that the legislation under consideration does not harm the 340B program and the providers and patients that rely on it in any way.”