HHS Proposes Rescinding Trump-Era Insulin, Epinephrine Rule (1)

June 15, 2021, 1:12 PM; Updated: June 15, 2021, 7:49 PM

The HHS is proposing to rescind a Trump administration drug rule requiring community health centers to give all their insulin and epinephrine discounts to patients.

Centers that don’t pass on the savings wouldn’t qualify for federal grants under the rule. The Department of Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden delayed the effective date of the rule (RIN 0906-AB25) until July 20 to give agency officials more opportunity to review the rule and ensure it wouldn’t impede the agency’s and health centers’ “immediate priority work” of responding to the pandemic.

Former HHS leaders argued the drug rule would benefit patients who struggle to pay for expensive insulin and allergy medication. However, the health centers said they already pass on those savings, and this rule was merely an administrative burden that paints them as entities that price-gouge patients.

The HHS said it’s proposing to retract the rule “due to undue administrative costs and burdens that implementation would impose on health centers.”

The National Association of Community Health Centers said it appreciates the administration’s recognition that the rule wouldn’t increase patients’ access and would simply make it harder for these facilities to operate. Under current law, community health centers already must “invest every penny of savings back into patient care,” the group said.

It’s not clear how many facilities would have had to follow the rule or face funding restrictions.

(Updates with comment from community health center association in the fifth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacquie Lee in Washington at jlee1@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com; Brent Bierman at bbierman@bloomberglaw.com

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