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5.5 Million Low-Income Patients Win: Mississippi Judge Upholds State Law Requiring Discounted Medications for Vulnerable Populations

A judge in Mississippi upheld a state law requiring drug companies to provide discounts on medications through third-party pharmacies serving low-income patients, despite opposition from pharmaceutical groups.

Mississippi Judge Upholds Law Mandating Drug Discounts for Low-Income Patients Despite Industry Pushback

According to the Benzinga Pro, a judge in Mississippi has decided that a state law requiring drug companies to give discounts on medicines to third-party pharmacies that serve low-income patients is valid. This ruling goes against the requests from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Novartis AG, who wanted the law stopped because they said it clashed with federal rules. The judge believes the law helps make sure low-income patients can get their medications easily.

The 340B program mandates drug companies to offer discounted medicines to hospitals and clinics serving low-income patients, who receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services allowed these providers to use unlimited contract pharmacies. However, drug companies are concerned this could lead to transparency issues and discount errors.

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5.5 Million Low-Income Patients Win: Mississippi Judge Upholds State Law Requiring Discounted Medications for Vulnerable Populations (PHOTO: Benzinga)

Novartis to Appeal Mississippi Ruling on Mandatory 340B Drug Discounts for Contract Pharmacies

To address these worries, some drug companies, including Novartis, put limits on how they sell 340B drugs through contract pharmacies. Despite these actions, states like Maryland, West Virginia, Mississippi, Kansas, and Louisiana passed laws to make sure drug companies still provide 340B discounts through contract pharmacies. Novartis plans to appeal the judge’s decision in Mississippi, continuing the fight over how the 340B program should be managed.

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