Dear Equitas Health Community,
I write to share with you two outstanding developments related to the 340B Drug Pricing Program.
First, just before the end of the year, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 263, which prohibits insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers from imposing discriminatory pricing and other contract terms on 340B Covered Entities, like Equitas Health and other vital community health centers. This is a huge win for safety net providers and the people we serve, as 340B savings is crucial to our ability to provide high quality, affordable programs and services to anyone who walks in our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. Many thanks to all of you who submitted emails to your state legislators imploring them to pass this bill. Your advocacy worked! The Governor signed SB 263 into law Wednesday, January 6.
Also just before the end of the year, the HHS Office of General Counsel (OGC) issued a strongly worded advisory opinion concluding that pharmaceutical manufacturers must offer 340B discounts through contract pharmacy arrangements. You might recall that, beginning in the summer, some drug manufacturers stopped honoring 340B pricing for Covered Entities that utilized contract pharmacies. In short, the Advisory Opinion concludes that a drug manufacturer’s obligation to offer 340B pricing to Covered Entities is consistent with the unambiguous plain meaning of the 340B statute, and is “independent of whether the [covered] entity opts to use contract pharmacies to dispense the drugs.” This advisory opinion, though not a final agency action or final order, “sets forth the current views” of the OGC.
These two developments are welcome news in that they demonstrate positive movement toward ensuring protection of Covered Entities like Equitas Health which in turn protects our patients’ and clients’ ability to access the services we provide.
We are tremendously thankful to the Equitas Health community for joining in the fight to preserve this critical source of care for Ohio’s community health centers. Your emails and phone calls helped preserve healthcare for close to 800,000 Ohioans who access services at community health centers across the state. THANK YOU for your hard work on this campaign!
President & CEO
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