Congress Seeks Information from 340B Covered Entities and Holds Hearing to Discuss How Covered Entities Use 340B Savings

By , Published On: October 17, 2017

On October 11, 2017, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee convened a hearing on the use of 340B program savings by covered entities.[1]  The subcommittee solicited testimony from five covered entity representatives, including three representing hospitals, one representing a Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantee, and one representing federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).  Members of Congress expressed clear interest in how 340B program savings are being calculated and tracked by covered entities, how the covered entities ensure that the savings expand care for vulnerable patient populations, and what heatlh care programs 340B savings support.  Notably, the subcommittee did not focus on the use of contract pharmacies.

The hearing follows one held by subcommittee on July 18 in which government officials from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Office of Pharmacy Affairs, the Government Accountability Office, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General testified that the 340B statute does not address how covered entities can use their 340B savings, and advocated for additional regulatory authority.[2]  At that hearing, some subcommittee members expressed support for increased program transparency, especially with regard to how 340B savings are tracked and used, and for expansion of regulatory authority.

The most recent hearing also follows a September 8, 2017 letter sent by the Energy and Commerce Committee to 19 covered entities requesting specific information regarding the entities’ operation of their 340B program, including the number and types of drugs purchased, patient and payer demographics, amount of charity care, and their utilization of contract pharmacies.[3]  Three of the hospitals invited to testify at the hearing, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Northside Hospital (GA), and Mission Health (NC), also received the September letters.

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[1] House Energy and Commerce Committee, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Examining How Covered Entities Utilize the 340B Drug Pricing Program, at https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/examining-covered-entities-utilize-340b-drug-pricing-program/.

[2] See https://www.feldesmantucker.com/congress-holds-subcommittee-hearing-340b-program-legislative-action-likely/; see also House Energy and Commerce Committee, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Examining HRSA’s Oversight of the 340B Drug Pricing Program, at https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings/examining-hrsas-oversight-340b-drug-pricing-program/

[3] House Energy and Commerce Committee, Letters to a Series of Covered Entities Participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program (Sept. 8, 2017), at https://energycommerce.house.gov/news/letter/letters-series-covered-entities-participating-340b-drug-pricing-program/.