WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and a bipartisan group of senators called for enforcement action to address practices of pharmaceutical companies that threaten to undermine the 340B Drug Pricing Program during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The 340B program requires drug companies to sell discounted prescription drugs to safety net hospitals, rural health facilities, and other entities that provide care in underserved communities. Savings from the 340B program ensure that these “covered entities” are able to continue to serve their patients. However, drug manufacturers have recently announced new burdensome requirements on covered entities beyond the scope of the 340B program, or they have announced that they will no longer provide discounts for medications shipped to pharmacies that dispense drugs to patients on behalf of covered entities.

“While I believe reforms to the 340B Drug Pricing Program are necessary for its long-term viability, pharmaceutical companies must follow the program’s rules and ensure our most vulnerable communities have access to affordable medication, particularly as we continue to battle COVID-19,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to stand up for North Carolinians and put patients first, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure all patients have access to affordable prescription drugs.”

The North Carolina Healthcare Association: “The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) thanks U.S. Senator Thom Tillis for standing up for our patients by signing on to a ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter on the 340B contract pharmacy issue today in response to recent actions taken by a number of drug companies to undermine the program designed to deliver medications to our most vulnerable patients.”

“Recent threats to the 340B drug discount program are jeopardizing our health care providers’ ability to provide affordable medications and care for the most vulnerable patients, putting health centers’ operations at risk – especially in rural North Carolina communities,” said Chris Shank, CEO and President of the NC Community Health Center Association. “In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in which many North Carolinians are now living without health insurance, Community Health Centers and other safety net providers are more important than ever. We thank Senator Tillis for calling on HRSA to enforce the law and protect our patients from losing access to the care they need.”

This bipartisan effort is additionally supported by the American Hospital Association (AHA), America’s Essential Hospitals, American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), and 340B Health.

The full letter is available here.

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