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Recent Actions by Eli Lilly and Merck May Harm 340B Covered Entities

Eli Lilly recently announced it would no longer provide 340B pricing on three formulations of the drug Cialis when the 340B covered entity that purchased the drug elects to have it shipped to a 340B pharmacy. Critics say Eli Lilly left the door open to do the same to other drugs, and that there is nothing preventing Lilly from extending this policy to hundreds of very expensive drugs that qualify for 340B pricing. Further, there is no provision under the 340B statute that allows Lilly to deny 340B pricing to a covered entity and that Lilly’s policy could be a violation of the law.


Pharmaceutical company Merck has also started to request new contract pharmacy claims data. Critics charge the request is an undue burden and not supported by the 340B statute.


The National Rural Health Association, along with other members of the 340B Coalition, wrote a letter to Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, about these recent actions taken by Merck and Eli Lilly.


The 340B Coalition contends that recent actions by the pharmaceutical companies threaten to “dramatically reduce the 340B benefit that safety-net hospitals, health centers, and clinics use to serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”


“These policies will hurt patients with low incomes and those living in rural communities who rely on 340B covered entities for their care,” says the letter.

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