U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark on Wednesday denied HHS' request to dismiss a lawsuit from AstraZeneca challenging an advisory opinion that prevents drugmakers from restricting sales to contract pharmacies under the 340B program, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Delaware, and Georgia.
- California: The City Council of Los Angeles on Wednesday backed a proposal to ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products in the city. The proposed ban, which now must be drafted by city attorneys, would make some exemptions for hookah tobacco. Supporters of the ban say flavored tobacco products serve as a gateway to getting teenagers addicted to nicotine (Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 6/16).
- Delaware: U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark on Wednesday denied HHS' request to dismiss a lawsuit from AstraZeneca challenging a December 2020 advisory opinion that prevents drugmakers from restricting sales to contract pharmacies under the 340B program. According to Stark's ruling, the issue of contract pharmacies wasn't clearly addressed when the program was developed. "Congress may very well want pharmaceutical manufacturers to deliver 340B drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies as a condition for manufacturers' participation in the Medicare Part B and Medicaid programs," he said. "But that kind of policymaking is for Congress, not this Court." The ruling means that AstraZeneca's lawsuit will continue (Brady, Modern Healthcare, 6/16; King, Fierce Healthcare, 6/17).
- Georgia: CDC earlier this month released a report showing that ED visits for suspected suicide attempts among 12- to 17-year-old girls increased by 50.6% between February and March of this year compared with the same time period in 2020. These ED visits can include suicide attempts as well as nonsuicidal self-harm, CDC said. The study noted the increase could be due to social distancing and a lack of social connection with teachers and friends, as well as barriers to mental health treatment, and increases in substance abuse and anxiety (Mendez, CNBC, 6/11).