Senators request stakeholder feedback on 340B drug pricing program

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently sent a letter to stakeholders to seek input on improving the 340B drug pricing program.

The senators, who are all members of a 340B bipartisan working group, released a request for information (RFI) to look for policy solutions that would “ensure the program has stability and oversight to continue to achieve its original intention of serving eligible patients,” according to the letter.

The Health Resources and Services Administration administers the 340B program, and it previously issued guidance that allowed covered entities to dispense drugs through contracted pharmacies in the program. However, the senators noted that the current 340B statute does not clearly address this issue.

“The 340B drug pricing program is not working as effectively as it should,” said Sen. Moran in a joint press release. “The confusion around its contract pharmacy provision and lack of transparency and congressional oversight is failing the patients the program exists to help.”

In addition, a number of drug manufacturers haven’t offered 340B discounts on their covered outpatient drugs dispensed at contract pharmacies in recent years, according to the letter. The senators said that providers in their states have alerted them to the negative impact this has had on providers who serve their constituents, according to the letter.

“The 340B program has been critical to South Dakota hospitals, health centers, and safety-net providers,” said Sen. Thune in the press release. “I continue to hear concerns from many of the healthcare providers in South Dakota about uncertainty in the program.”

The senators also acknowledged that stakeholders have been concerned by the need to strengthen the program’s integrity measures. To address these concerns, the senators are requesting information on ways to improve covered entities’ accountability and ensure transparency according to the letter.

The senators’ goal is to ensure that the program has improved stability and integrity and that it continues to enable providers to use federal resources to provide better healthcare. Stakeholders should submit written responses to the RFI to no later than July 28, 2023.