More than 1,100 hospitals that receive 340B discounts on Thursday asked HHS to stop drugmakers from restricting discounts on drugs provided to patients through contract pharmacies.
Several drugmakers have in recent weeks taken actions to collect claims data and restrict 340B discounts for some or all of their drugs to in-house pharmacies run by 340B providers. The drugmakers appear to be pushing boundaries to test how much they can unilaterally curtail the use of contract pharmacies in the 340B drug-discount program.
The hospitals, located across the country, asked HHS to use its authority to "put an end to these ill-conceived policies."
"These collective actions to deny access to 340B pricing are clear violations of the 340B statute that will set a dangerous precedent," the hospitals wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
A Health Resources and Services Administration spokesman said the agency is evaluating potential sanctions including civil monetary penalties if the drugmakers' actions violate 340B statute.
Drugmakers argue that contract pharmacies are not mentioned in 340B statute, and that drugmakers are continuing to offer discounts through on-site pharmacies.
Contract pharmacy usage has skyrocketed since HRSA issued guidance in 2010 that recommended 340B covered entities contract with multiple pharmacies. An analysis by the Drug Channels Institute found that fewer than 1,300 locations served as contract pharmacies in January 2010, compared with nearly 28,000 in July 2020.