Culpeper Star-Exponent: Tonight, Spanberger, other legislators to #Defend340B drug discounts

CULPEPER STAR-EXPONENT, STAR-EXPONENT STAFF REPORT

A bipartisan group of colleagues on the House floor tonight including U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger will support the federal government’s beleagured 340B drug discount program.

The “Special Order Hour” led by Spanberger, D-Va., will respond to a rash of U.S. pharmaceutical companies “recklessly restricting” federal 340B discounts, her office said Tuesday.

House members will share stories from their communities highlighting the importance of the 340B program and their staunch opposition to prescription-drug price hikes on the nation’s rural health-care providers.

The event, starting about 7:30 p.m., will follow the House’s final votes today. To watch, click here to access live video from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In recent years, some drug makers have stopped honoring 340B discounts for drugs dispensed through pharmacies that contract with 340B providers, steeply hiking prices for vulnerable patients and providers, the 7th District congresswoman’s office said in statement.

The 340B program requires pharmaceutical companies to discount drugs sold to safety-net hospitals and rural health-care providers in exchange for having their drugs covered by Medicaid. It has a long record of lowering drug costs for patients who live in rural communities, suffer from chronic illnesses or live on low incomes, Spanberger’s office said.

Enacted with bipartisan support in 1992, the program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Earlier this year, Spanberger pressed the Biden administration to immediately act against drug manufacturers that refuse to comply with the 340B laws on the books. House members’ bipartisan letter also urged HHS to protect rural providers’ access to discounted drugs.

But even after HHS warned drug markers in 2021, companies violating 340B laws “have made no effort to come into compliance with their lawful obligations,” Spanberger’s office said. And HHS hasn’t followed through by enforcing the laws.

“This situation jeopardizes the integrity of the entire program and threatens affordable drug availability throughout rural America,” Spanberger’s office said.

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