GOP Governors Support 340B  | 340B Matters
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22 Apr GOP Governors Support 340B 

Something wonderful is happening in state legislatures across America. Bills are being introduced to protect safety-net health providers’ use of community pharmacies that increase access to prescription drugs in the 340B Drug Discount Program. Demonstrating bi-partisan support, the measures are getting signed by Republican governors.

The new laws prohibit discrimination against community pharmacies by large drug makers. The legislative measures block the companies from withholding discounted pricing mandated by the program. So the governors, who recognize that the 340B program receives no taxpayer funds, are making these bills law.

– On April 12, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed one such 340B anti-discrimination measure into law.

– In late March, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) put his signature on a new community pharmacy protection law that passed the state’s legislature nearly unanimously. (The tally was 96-1 in the House and 31-0 in the Senate.) The law also prohibits drug makers from demanding that health providers submit claims data as a precondition for receiving discount pricing.

– In 2021, Arkansas’ Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) codified a new 340B contract pharmacy protections statute. Big Pharma filed suit to block it as unconstitutional and failed spectacularly. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit unanimously ruled in the law’s favor last month.

These Republican governors aren’t following their GOP compatriots in Congress who recently have largely backed Big Pharma’s anti-340B agenda. Why? The drug industry spent a staggering $26.7 million lobbying Capitol Hill in 2023. Many members of Congress have succumbed to a constant stream of misinformation from drug manufacturers’ Astroturf mouthpieces – even though constituents in their districts rely on healthcare providers supported by the 340B program.

Democratic governors are also jumping in.  On April 25, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a state budget bill that includes language to protect 340B pharmacies. Last year, Louisiana Gov. Jim Bell Edwards did the same. The measure also bars health insurance issuers, pharmacy benefit managers, or other third-party payers from reimbursing 340B drugs at a lower rate.

Recent actions by the states make it very clear that legislators and governors — irrespective of political party — are less susceptible to Pharma’s Washington-centric political influence machine.

In short, the 340B program is proving immune to partisan politics at the state level. That makes perfect sense, as the original law was passed in 1992 with strong bi-partisan support in Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush (R).

We will continue to encourage other governors – both Republicans and Democrats – to sign pro-340B bills in the coming months.

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