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Attorney General Josh Stein Urges Congress to Keep Medications Affordable

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today urged Congress to strengthen a federal program so financially vulnerable North Carolinians can continue to get affordable medications and health services.

“Drug companies can’t ignore the rules and leave North Carolinians without access to life-saving medications,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I hope Congress strengthens federal protections to help more people afford the medications they need.”

The 340B Drug Pricing program was created in 1992 to provide 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 agreements with the HHS Secretary to limit the amount public hospitals, community health centers, and others serving indigent patients have to pay for medications.

But in recent years, drugmakers have flouted federal requirements by imposing potentially unlawful conditions or outright refusing to offer covered drugs to covered health care providers. This makes it difficult for people who need these often life-saving medications to be able to afford them. In their letter, Attorney General Stein and a bi-partisan group of attorneys general urge Congress to strengthen the program by giving the Health Resources Services Administration the authority to effectively oversee the program and by increasing accountability, reporting, and transparency.

Attorney General Stein is joined in sending this letter by the Attorneys General of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the letter is available here.