Lawmakers May Reverse ‘Devastating’ Cuts To 340B Drug Program, But There Will Likely Be A Trade-Off
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said his panel is going to be looking at changes Congress can make to the program, which has sparked a furor between the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals. "I think, that we need to bring transparency and accountability to this program for it to survive long term,” Walden said.
Overhaul Of 340B Program Could Happen This Spring, Key Republican Says
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are gearing up to overhaul a controversial Medicare drug discount program as soon as this quarter, a key Republican tells STAT. That’s a win for drug makers who have long pushed to narrow the scope of the so-called 340B drug discount program. At the same time, however, the committee will also examine whether to restore a recent $1.6 billion cut to the program, which came under a Trump administration rule that took effect Jan. 1, according to committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon. Hospital groups have called the cut “devastating” and have lobbied Congress to reverse it. (Mershon, 1/11)
Lawmakers Look To Step Up Oversight On Discount Drug Program
Following a two-year review by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told reporters Tuesday that Republicans will push for substantial changes to bring what they argue is much-needed transparency and oversight to 340B, namely by expanding the federal government’s authority over the program. “We understand this is a very important program in many of our communities. It does amazing work and helps a vulnerable population,” Walden said. (Hellmann, 1/10)
In other pharmaceutical news —
Drug Makers Signal Interest In Exiting Vaccine Development During Crises
Every few years an alarming disease launches a furious, out-of-the-blue attack on people, triggering a high-level emergency response. SARS. The H1N1 flu pandemic. West Nile and Zika. The nightmarish West African Ebola epidemic. In nearly each case, major vaccine producers have risen to the challenge, setting aside their day-to-day profit-making activities to try to meet a pressing societal need. With each successive crisis, they have done so despite mounting concerns that the threat will dissipate and with it the demand for the vaccine they are racing to develop. (Branswell, 1/11)
Kaiser Health News:
Facebook Live: It’s 2018, Can Big Pharma Hold The Line Against Pricing Controls?
What do we know about the drug industry’s agenda to quiet the drumbeat of cost control and transparency proposals? How will the industry target its efforts? Will the battles take place at the state level? KHN senior correspondent Jay Hancock discussed these issues on Facebook Live Wednesday. (1/10)
Kansas City Star:
Step Therapy Bill In Kansas Would Restrict Insurers' Prescription Drug Denials
Insurers use step therapy to try to steer clients toward less expensive, older treatments to see if that works for them before they “step” up to something newer and usually more expensive. ... But patient advocacy groups say unregulated step therapy allows insurance companies to impose an unrealistic, one-size-fits-all approach to medicine that prevents doctors from using their best clinical judgment to tailor treatments to individuals. (Marso, 1/10)