WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, today held a hearing continuing its review of the 340B drug pricing program.
The hearing follows #SubOversight’s July hearing regarding oversight challenges of the 340B drug pricing program. During that hearing, HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) testified that they did not have the authority to track how a participating entity might manage their savings in order to improve patient care. As a result, data on program use is largely unavailable.
Citing HRSA’s comments, #SubOversight Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) highlighted the committee’s letters to a diverse group of entities in September.
“Over the past few months, we have heard from these entities and many others,” said Vice Chairman Griffith. “Some entities reached out to the committee on their own, very eager to share with us the great work they are doing with the program dollars. We’ve heard from rural entities that started delivery services to ensure that patients in remote areas are able to receive their medications, entities that pass savings directly to their patients using a cash card program, and entities that are using their savings to combat the opioid crisis, including by examining prescribing practices and providing behavioral health services to their communities.”
Vice Chairman Griffith noted reports that some of the program’s participating entities are not putting these critical dollars toward improving patient care, boosting important services, or helping reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
“The 340B program enables covered entities to do some real good in our communities: to extend care to underserved populations, to create programs that serve specific community needs, and to provide life-saving drugs at discounted prices to the populations that need them most. For some entities, this program is the difference in keeping their doors open or closing shop, which could result in a loss of care to vulnerable populations,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “…However, the lack of transparency requirements has resulted in inconsistent data and dueling reports from every side of the issue. …While I believe it is important that entities be able to share their work in a way that takes into account the specific needs of their communities, the inconsistencies here only further demonstrate that we need better data on this program.”
Dr. Ronald A. Paulus, President and CEO, Mission Health Systems, Inc., spoke to the importance of the program, saying, “…Maintaining the integrity of the mission critical 340B drug pricing program is absolutely vital in order for our population to receive the services they so desperately need.”
Ms. Sue Veer, President and CEO, Carolina Health Centers, Inc., testified about the additional requirements for participation in the program placed on grantees, saying, “The HRSA requirements with which we must comply are spelled out in a 92-page manual and are grouped into 18 major categories, including -but not limited to – clinical quality, governance structure, financial management and accountability, ensuring access, and collaboration with other local providers.”
For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.