01 Jul Where Are the Rest of America’s Attorneys General?
By 340B Matters
Recently, 25 state attorneys general signed onto two friend-of-the-court briefs excoriating the drug industry for illegally denying discounts to hospitals and clinics in the federal 340B Drug Discount Program. We applaud these leaders – and particularly Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, for leading the charge.
But where are the AGs from the other half of the country?
Represented in the briefs are Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont. It’s a solid political cross section of America but glaringly absent are attorneys general from California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, New York and the rest of the nation.
There are nonprofit safety-net healthcare providers in every state in the union. They offer services to all patients who enter their doors, regardless of ability to pay. For 30 years, the 340B Program has been an essential mechanism to help these hospitals and clinics stretch resources and better care for patients. Created in 1992 by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, the program requires manufacturers to supply discounted medicine to nonprofit healthcare providers that serve high numbers of poor patients. In return, the industry was allowed to sell into the phenomenally lucrative Medicaid and Medicare markets. But starting in 2020, drug makers illegally stopped providing discounts to hospitals and clinics that contract with nearby pharmacies to fill prescriptions.
That’s cheated hospitals and clinics out of $6 billion and counting. To cope, safety-net providers are facing budget shortfalls that negatively impact patient care. The situation is particularly acute for many rural critical access hospitals that face potential closures if the cuts to 340B discounts become permanent.
Which should never be allowed to happen.
The attorneys general on record are clear about the illegality of Big Pharma’s attack on the program.
“Nothing in the statute or the legislative history allows drug manufacturers to unilaterally place industry-wide restrictions on covered entities’ use of contract pharmacies for their prescription dispensing needs,” say the amicus briefs.
We call on the rest of America’s attorneys general to join the fight in support of the 340B program.
Want to stay up-to-date on the latest 340B News?