Hospitals sue HHS over 340B price transparency

Hospital associations have launched a lawsuit that would prompt a court order to require drug companies to disclose the ceiling price for 340B drugs. Such requirements were already lawful under the Affordable Care Act, but the effective date has been delayed five times, according to the American Hospital Association.

“As prescription drug prices continue to skyrocket, the 340B program is as crucial as ever in helping hospitals and health systems provide access to health care services for vulnerable patients and communities,” Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the AHA, said in a statement. “Our lawsuit will ensure that drug companies provide the transparency and accuracy that the government has found lacking and hold price gouging drug companies accountable.”

The groups involved in the complaint include AHA, Association of American Medical Colleges, America’s Essential Hospitals, 340B Health and three health systems.

The delayed rules require drug companies to disclose the maximum per-unit, or ceiling, price that can be charge to providers participating in the 340B drug program, which provides outpatient drugs at reduced prices. The regulations further allow the government to levy civil monetary penalties against drug companies for knowingly and intentionally overcharging providers.

“The final regulation provides important transparency for this vital program,” AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, said in a statement. “Delaying implementation of that rule ultimately harms vulnerable patients and the teaching hospitals they rely on for care.”

The lawsuit seeks to declare the delay in implementation unlawful and restore an effective date in 30 days.