The Senate this week is turning its focus to 340B, the drug discount program that has fueled a fierce Capitol Hill lobbying battle in the U.S. House of Representatives for months.
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called a hearing for Thursday, saying he will focus on gathering information from stakeholders. "Congress created this program to help some of the most vulnerable people in our country afford their medications to treat HIV, hepatitis C, diabetes or cancer," Alexander said in the hearing notice. "I am looking forward to hearing from many of those involved in how the program is working, and what steps, if any, the federal government should take to strengthen the program and ensure patients are receiving benefits."
Last fall, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight subcommittee held hearings that led to the release of a report that states Congress did not clarify the program's intent or set parameters. The January report recommended greater oversight and reporting requirements for providers who qualify for the program.
Hearings are expected soon on a packet of bills that peels off legislation by Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) that would establish user fees and new reporting measures, among other policies.