On July 13, the AAMC sent a letter to Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) in support of the Preserving Rules Ordered for the Entities Covered Through (PROTECT) 340B Act of 2021 (H.R. 4390), legislation that would protect safety-net hospitals that participate in the 340B programs from discrimination by commercial insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
The letter emphasized the essential role the 340B program plays in securing the health care safety-net, noting, “Hospitals that participate in the 340B program leverage the discounts they receive from pharmaceutical companies to invest in a wide array of services that benefit patients and advance health equity.”
This bipartisan bill would prohibit commercial insurers and PBMs from targeting hospitals that participate in the 340B program with discriminatory reimbursement terms and conditions. Examples of discriminatory actions prohibited under the legislation include reimbursing 340B providers at lower rates than their non-340B counterparts, requiring 340B providers to identify or tag 340B dispenses, or refusing to contract with a 340B provider or their community pharmacy partner on the basis of their participation in the program. The legislation would authorize civil monetary penalties on insurers and PBMs that are found to violate these protections.
Spanberger previously championed the 340B program by organizing a special order hour commemorating its 30th anniversary [refer to Washington Highlights, June 10]. In addition, she previously led a bipartisan House letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services to pursue enforcement action against pharmaceutical manufacturers that restrict hospitals’ use of community pharmacy arrangements to distribute discounted drugs [refer to Washington Highlights, March 2, 2021].