HHS is finalizing a $250 million public education campaign, called Building Vaccine Confidence, aimed at encouraging Americans to take the new coronavirus vaccine, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
- California/District of Columbia: A group of five hospital associations, three hospitals, and a pharmacist association have filed a lawsuit claiming HHS failed to enforce the requirements of the 340B drug pricing program and prevent drugmakers from lowering their discounts to hospitals. In the lawsuit, the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, America's Essential Hospitals, and the other groups claim that HHS' "refusal to require the drug companies" to sell medications "at or below 340B ceiling prices when dispensed through contract pharmacy arrangements is causing significant harm" to hospitals, pharmacists, and patients. The associations are seeking an injunction to stop drugmakers from cutting the discounts under the program (AHA release, 12/11; Silverman, "Pharmalot," STAT+, 12/12).
- District of Columbia: HHS is finalizing a $250 million public education campaign, called Building Vaccine Confidence, aimed at encouraging Americans to take the new coronavirus vaccine. Mark Weber, HHS' deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for human services, told the New York Times that the campaign will take a "science-based approach." HHS is launching focus groups to refine the campaign—which the market research firm Fors Marsh Group developed under a government contract—on Tuesday and plans to begin the campaign's first round of advertisements in print, social media, and radio this week. HHS will add television advertisements to the campaign once the vaccine becomes more widely available (Stolberg/Shear, New York Times, 12/13).
- Maryland/Pennsylvania: The National Cancer Institute has renewed UPMC's Hillman Cancer Center's comprehensive cancer center designation for another five-year period with a $30 million grant to fund the center's research, which is so far the largest grant the center has received. UPMC is one of 51 cancer centers in the United States with the designation and has received the designation every five years since 1990 (Carbajal, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/10)