Amgen becomes 10th drugmaker to restrict 340B discounts to safety net hospitals

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Beginning Jan. 3, Amgen will curtail drug discounts to safety net hospitals' contract pharmacies under the federal 340B program, Endpoints News reported Dec. 2.

Moving forward, the drugmaker will allow 340B hospitals to select only one pharmacy location. This excludes federal grantees as well as contract pharmacies owned entirely by a 340B hospital or that have common ownership with a health system.

"The current policy primarily applies to self-administered, pharmacy benefit Amgen products, specifically Repatha, Enbrel, Otezla and Aimovig," the drugmaker wrote in a letter to hospitals. "The policy does not currently apply to medical benefit products and Amgen does not intend to change that in the future."

This move makes Amgen the 10th drugmaker to restrict 340B discounts. It joins AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, UCB and United Therapeutics.

"In the decade since the Health Resources and Services Administration expanded its contract pharmacy policy, the number of contract pharmacy arrangements in the 340B program has grown by a staggering 4,000 percent," Amgen said in a statement sent to Becker's Dec. 2. "More than 50 percent of the profits generated by contract pharmacies are retained by for-profit companies, diverting resources from federal grantees and other covered entities that provide care to uninsured and vulnerable patients."

Drugmakers began imposing restrictions on 340B discounts afforded to hospitals participating in the program in July 2020. In December 2020, five national hospital organizations sued HHS, citing its failure to make drugmakers pay 340B discounts to hospitals that dispense their drugs through community pharmacies.

In October, pharmacy leaders from five health systems told Becker's such restrictions to 340B discounts have increased drug costs, limiting their ability to expand care access to indigent populations. 

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