A recent US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) US Supreme Court loss involving drug reimbursements to hospitals may impact a larger battle over drug discounts for low-income Americans. According to this Blomberg Law article, the Court ruled in June that HHS improperly cut $1 billion a year in drug reimbursements to hospitals through a government program that assists at-need populations. Now, both HHS and hospitals may be on the same side of a different skirmish—whether the agency can require pharmaceutical companies to offer discounts to specific pharmacies. McDermott Partner Emily Jane Cook said language in the Court’s opinion “suggests that the court does have a very favorable view of the 340B program and the hospitals that participate in that program.”
Political divisiveness on Capitol Hill, a focus on impeachment activity and financial relief for the COVID-19 pandemic—as well as delays in confirming President Joe Biden’s nominees for cabinet and subcabinet positions—so far have caused a slowdown in the new administration’s ability to make sweeping changes affecting healthcare.
In an article for Pharmacy Practice News, McDermott partner James Kim discusses key issues to watch from Congress and the White House in 2021.