September 23, 2020

HHS To Investigate Drug Company After Manchin Calls On Them To Protect Access To Affordable Medicine For Low-Income West Virginians

Washington, DC – Today Health and Human Services (HHS) began an investigation of Eli Lilly and Company, one of the many drug makers who have made recent changes to restrict access to the 340B Drug Pricing Program for safety net health providers. This decision comes after Senator Manchin sent a letter last week pressing HHS to protect this access.

“I am pleased that HHS is taking steps to protect access to safe, affordable medicine for low-income families and healthcare providers. This formal investigation is a good first step, but we must do more. These companies have decided that during the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 200,000 Americans, sent millions onto unemployment, and hurt our economy, they should stop providing discounts to certain healthcare providers that serve vulnerable populations like many West Virginians. The 340B program provides essential savings for healthcare providers and in return gives more West Virginians access to affordable medication. I will continue to work with HHS to demand these companies follow the 340B program regulations and provide affordable medicines to Americans and West Virginians in need, as they have since 1992,” said Senator Manchin.

Recently, a growing number of drug companies have taken steps to deny access to discounted drugs for 340B covered entities that use contract pharmacies, likely in violation of the 340B statute. These actions are restricting access to medications, which have already been more difficult to purchase during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These changes are also negatively affecting West Virginia health centers and healthcare providers who rely on this program to provide vulnerable West Virginians with quality, affordable care.