The 340B hits keep coming. On April 28, Merck announced that effective May 31, it will no longer allow CHCs to receive 340B pricing at contract pharmacies unless the CHC provides claims-level data to the www.340BESP.com website. (As with previous manufacturers, CHCs without any in-house pharmacies who do not submit the data may select a single contract pharmacy site to receive 340B-priced Merck drugs.)
Here are some key points about this announcement:
Merck has imposed contract pharmacy restrictions on all 340B hospitals since September 2021. The April 28 announcement applies only to CHCs – not to other grantee types (e.g., Ryan White Clinics, STD clinics.)
- Merck is the fourth-largest drug manufacturer (by revenue), and the largest to apply contract pharmacy restrictions to CHCs.
- According to a couple of CHC pharmacists, Merck does not manufacture a lot of “high-dollar” drugs that CHC patients take, but they make several drugs that CHCs dispense frequently. These include:
- Oral diabetes drugs Januvia, Janumet, and Steglatro. (At least two of these are penny-priced.)
- Proventil – a rescue inhaler
- Merck is a large manufacturer of vaccines, but vaccines are not included under 340B; therefore, today’s announcement will have no impact on vaccine pricing or access.
Colleen P. Meiman
National Policy Advisor for State & Regional Associations of Community Health Centers