Congress continues its two-week recess and will return to Washington April 28.

Last week, five Senate Democrats on the Special Committee on Aging sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) regarding the benefits and importance of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The Senators encouraged the agencies to ensure any proposed rule or guidance regarding patient definition does not limit the types of drugs available through the program and upholds the program’s original intent  – “to stretch scarce Federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”

HRSA has been working on a proposed rule to formalize guidance around the 340B program. Known as the mega reg, this rule was recently sent to OMB for review and is expected to be released sometime in June. The rule is likely to touch on patient eligibility and contract pharmacy requirements.

In addition, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding department budget hearings. At the beginning of the month, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on the National Institutes of Health budget. Hearings regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget have not yet been scheduled.