On June 7, Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and John Rose (R-Tenn.) held a special order hour commemorating the 30th anniversary of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. This event gave members of the House of Representatives the opportunity to highlight the positive impact the program has had on patients, communities, and providers in their districts.
In her opening remarks, Spanberger underscored the significant role that the 340B Program plays in “support[ing] health care providers in their mission to care for the most vulnerable and low-income patients in their communities.” She denounced pharmaceutical manufacturers’ increasingly common practice of restricting 340B discounted drugs dispensed by community pharmacies, calling upon the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take enforcement action against these drug companies. “Every time a pharmaceutical company withholds a 340B discount from an eligible pharmacy, that company is unlawfully overcharging the health care safety-net and withholding resources from the most vulnerable patients in our communities,” she stated.
In his opening remarks, Rose reflected upon recent congressional activity to defend the 340B Program, including a letter co-signed by over 220 members of the House of Representatives calling upon HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to take enforcement action against pharmaceutical companies that impose restrictions on covered entities’ use of community pharmacy arrangements. “By having such a large group of members in support of that letter, to which I proudly lent my name, we demonstrated the broad bipartisan support the 340B Program enjoys across the country,” he stated. Rose further called upon his House colleagues and the Senate to take action to defend the 340B Program and its beneficiaries against this practice.
The event attracted bipartisan participation, with members reflecting upon how the program benefits patients and communities in their districts. Several members remarked how the 340B Program supports rural hospitals, which often face unique financial pressures. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) reflected upon his 28 years of experience working in rural health care, emphasizing that the program serves as a “lifeline for our rural hospitals.” He observed, “Most hospitals are lucky to break even, especially rural hospitals. ... I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the 340B Program be the difference between a red, losing year, in which you are losing money ... and perhaps breaking even.” Other members shared stories of how the 340B Program has helped patients in their districts afford their medications. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) stated, “In Strafford County in my district there is another NH resident who uses 340B for insulin for their diabetes. They pay just $45 per month for three vials of insulin, instead of $400 for just one vial.”