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Attorney General Josh Stein Defends Affordable Medications for North Carolinians

For Immediate Release:
Monday, May 16, 2022

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today joined a bipartisan nationwide coalition of attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief defending affordable drug prices in two cases.

“No North Carolinian should be denied the medications they need to stay healthy because drug prices are too high,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The 340B Drug Pricing Program ensures access to affordable medications, and drug companies cannot refuse to comply to increase their bottom line. The federal government is right to go after drugmakers that break the rules, and I’ll do everything I can to help North Carolinians get the affordable health care they need.”

The 340B Drug Pricing program, which has strong bipartisan support, provides discounts to covered health care providers that serve uninsured and low-income patients. The discounts help keep medication costs low even as prescription drug prices increase. As a condition of having their drugs covered by Medicaid and Medicare Part B, Congress requires drug companies to enter into Pharmaceutical Pricing Agreements (PPAs) with the HHS Secretary to limit the amount public hospitals, community health centers, and others serving indigent patients have to pay for medications. These PPAs require the drug companies to offer each covered medication to providers “at or below the applicable ceiling price.”

The brief defends the actions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in cases filed by Sanofi SA, Novartis Pharmaceutics, United Therapeutics Corp, and NovoNordisk. The pharmaceutical giants have refused to comply or have unilaterally adopted unlawful restrictions on the 340B Program. The restrictions mean that some covered health care providers are forced to use a single pharmacy or must share confidential proprietary data with the drug companies.

Attorney General Stein previously urged HHS to hold drug companies accountable when they acted to make it harder for people to access affordable prescriptions.

Attorney General Stein was joined in filing the brief by the Attorneys General of Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Illinois, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Utah, Mississippi, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

A copy of the brief is available here.

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