Dozens of U.S. lawmakers sent sharply worded letters to the Trump administration and the pharmaceutical industry trade group to demand drug makers stop threatening to curtail discounts provided to a federal program for safety-net hospitals.
The bipartisan effort comes in response to recent steps taken by at least five large drug companies to reduce discounts they offer to the 340B drug discount program. Created in 1992, the program 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 indigent populations.
Earlier this summer, the companies warned the discounts will soon be cut if hospitals buy medicines and then ship them to retail and specialty pharmacies for patients to pick up or for delivery, instead of dispensing the drugs through their own in-house pharmacies. In other cases, drug makers said they may withhold discounts if they do not receive patient claims data beyond Medicaid recipients.