Updated: Nov 8
Louisiana recently passed the Defending Affordable Prescription Drug Costs Act (House Bill 548), which aims to protect affordable access to prescription medications. This new law shows that state legislatures can take meaningful action to address high drug costs.
The law prohibits health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and other payors from engaging in discriminatory practices against healthcare facilities that participate in the 340B drug discount program. The 340B program allows certain safety net providers like community health centers and hospitals serving low-income patients to purchase outpatient drugs at significantly reduced prices.
However, in recent years payors have been reimbursing 340B providers at lower rates for these discounted drugs. The new Louisiana law bans this practice of "double discounting," ensuring 340B entities receive fair reimbursement. It also prevents payors from imposing additional fees, restrictions, or requirements on 340B providers that are not applied to other pharmacies.
The legislation further prohibits drug manufacturers and distributors from denying or interfering with 340B providers' acquisition of discounted medications. This helps guarantee safety net healthcare facilities can continue serving vulnerable patients through affordable access to medications.
By taking a stand against discriminatory practices that undermine the 340B program, Louisiana is demonstrating that states can play a meaningful role in defending affordable prescription drug costs. As drug prices remain a serious national problem, more state legislatures following Louisiana's lead may help curb rising costs that ultimately impact consumers. This new law shows that through bipartisan efforts, states can make progress on this issue even when federal action has stalled.