Senators return to Washington, D.C., this week for their last substantial work period before the elections and are expected to consider and vote on a “tailored” COVID-19 relief package.
But the package is intended only to show Senate action on COVID-19 relief and not expected to win Senate approval or receive serious consideration in the House. Text has not been released, but the legislation is expected to include top issues for Republicans, such as liability protections. We do not expect this narrow package to include other essential hospital priorities.
Meanwhile, the House enters into a committee work period this week. Many of its hearings will occur remotely. Some Senate committee meetings, on the other hand, will continue using a hybrid approach. Of note for essential hospitals, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a Sept. 9 hearing on COVID-19 vaccines.
House Letter on Drug Industry Attacks on 340B Pharmacies
A bipartisan group of representatives is circulating among House colleagues a sign-on letter that raises concerns with recent actions by drug manufacturers to restrict access to 340B Drug Pricing Program drugs through contract pharmacies.
Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) are leading the letter signing campaign, with Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD). The letter urges Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to intervene and compel the pharmaceutical manufacturers to comply with the 340B statute.
America’s Essential Hospitals strongly supports this letter and has raised similar concerns in a letter to HHS. The association sent an Action Alert last Friday urging member hospitals to contact their representatives and urge them to sign the letter by a deadline of noon ET, Sept. 11.