HHS Says Drugmakers Should Not Shut Off 340B Discounts To Hospitals
The Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory opinion stating that pharmaceutical companies are obliged to offer discounts to medical facilities providing care to low-income communities.
HHS Rebukes Drug Makers For Curtailing Discounts To Hospitals That Serve Low-Income Populations
After months of controversy, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a stern rebuke to several large drug makers that have sought to curtail the discounts they offer through a federal program for safety-net hospitals and clinics. At issue is the 340B drug discount program, which requires drug makers to offer discounts that are typically estimated to be 25% to 50% — but could be much higher — on all outpatient drugs to hospitals and clinics that serve low-income populations. (Silverman, 1/4)
Some Drugmakers May Not Comply With HHS 340B Opinion On Contract Pharmacies
HHS on Dec. 30 advised drugmakers that they must provide 340B discount prices to pharmacies that contract with covered entities, but the advisory opinion doesn't have the force of law. Eli Lilly and Sanofi have indicated the new opinion may not change their behavior. "We've reviewed the statement from HHS and we disagree with their conclusion. We continue to believe our 340B distribution program complies with all applicable laws and regulations, and we will continue to advocate for fixes to 340B that will help people access affordable medicines instead padding the bottom lines of hospitals and contract pharmacies that pocket discounts for themselves," an Eli Lilly spokesperson said in a written statement. (Cohrs, 1/4)
In other pharmaceutical and biotech news —
Pharma Rings In The New Year With 5% Price Hikes On Hundreds Of Medicines
When it comes to prescription drug prices, what goes up often continues to go up – and 2021 is no exception. Each January, the pharmaceutical industry is known for raising prices. And this month, the median wholesale price increased 4.8% for 645 brand-name medicines in the U.S., according to a new analysis by 46Brooklyn, a market research firm. (Silverman, 1/4)
Many Health Plans Now Must Cover Full Cost Of Expensive HIV Prevention Drugs
Ted Howard started taking Truvada a few years ago because he wanted to protect himself against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But the daily pill was so pricey he was seriously thinking about giving it up. Under his insurance plan, the former flight attendant and customer service instructor owed $500 in copayments every month for the drug and an additional $250 every three months for lab work and clinic visits. Luckily for Howard, his doctor at Las Vegas’ Huntridge Family Clinic, which specializes in LGBTQ care, enrolled him in a clinical trial that covered his medication and other costs in full. (Andrews, 1/5)
These 4 Startups Got Venture Funding A Year Ago. Where Are They Now?
In a typical year, a biotech startup might hope to raise enough money to keep things running for 18 months or more. But in many ways, this year was far from typical. Even in the middle of a pandemic, biotech companies have been able to raise a staggering amount of money for their operations. Some managed to squeeze in multiple financing rounds within 12 months; others decided to jump into uncommonly welcoming public markets. (Sheridan, 1/5)