The House Appropriations Committee released a draft spending bill this month that proposes increased funding for OPA.  The Committee proposes $15,238,000 in funding for OPA, which is $5 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level and $11 million less than the fiscal year 2019 budget request, according to the Committee Report accompanying the bill.

In its report, the Committee directs HRSA to use the additional funds to implement the recommendations contained in the House Energy and Commerce Committee report on the 340B program issued earlier this year.  Specifically, the Committee instructs HRSA to “conduct additional audits of covered entities, finalize guidance to clarify parameters of the 340B program, and complete the rulemaking process for areas where HRSA has regulatory authority.”  The Committee does not mention audits of manufacturers in its report.  The Committee also does not include language in its spending bill requesting authority for HRSA to charge covered entities a 340B user fee, nor does it seek additional regulatory authority for HRSA, stating that “such reform of the 340B program is best addressed by the authorizing committee of jurisdiction.”

In addition, the Committee Report recognizes that the “340B drug pricing program remains important” in achieving its purpose of “allowing covered entities to stretch their resources to provide comprehensive services to patients,” and that it is generally supportive of HRSA’s efforts to provide program guidance to covered entities. The Committee also criticizes OPA for failing to meet deadlines to provide a secure website for 340B ceiling prices and urges OPA to complete the website and issue a report to Congress on its progress.

The House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to mark up the draft spending bill yesterday, but the markup has been postponed to an undisclosed date.  The Senate Appropriations Labor/HHS/Education Subcommittee was scheduled to proceed with the markup of its own version of the bill yesterday.