House Energy & Commerce Committee Seeks Answers from 340B Program Contract Pharmacies

By | Published On: August 7, 2018

On August 1, the Energy & Commerce Committee (E&C Committee) of the House of Representatives sent letters to nine contract pharmacies that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program (340B Program), requesting information about their participation in the program. The contract pharmacy recipients included Accredo Health Group, Albertsons Companies, Avella Specialty Pharmacy, Cains Drug Store, CVS Health, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, Kroger Company, Walgreens, and Walmart Inc. These new requests for information continue the E&C Committee’s oversight of the 340B Program and appear to be an outgrowth of the recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on contract pharmacies.

The letters outline government oversight of contract pharmacies in the 340B Program by both GAO and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health & Human Services and describe how the number of contract pharmacies registered with the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) has increased since 2010. The letters also ask a series of ten questions, several with multiple subparts, on topics including fees, the structure of the contracts, the distance between contract pharmacy sites and covered entity sites, compliance approaches to prevent diversion and duplicate discounts, and treatment of low-income, uninsured patients. The letters request answers to these questions within two weeks of their receipt.

As described in earlier blog posts, on July 3rd, the E&C Committee released 15 draft bills related to the 340B Program for members’ consideration. Of those bills, only one related to contract pharmacies in the 340B Program as it required Congress to implement the recommendations identified by the GAO report on contract pharmacies. This new round of oversight, targeting contract pharmacies, may signal that the E&C Committee is planning to examine legislative options for this aspect of the 340B Program.

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