The ruling from a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia is a victory for Sanofi SA, Novo Nordisk AS and AstraZeneca PLc. The companies had sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after it ordered them to stop restricting sales of discounted drugs to so-called contract pharmacies.
Spokespersons for Sanofi and AstraZeneca said the companies were pleased with the decision. HHS and Novo Nordisk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The case centers on the federal 340B program, in which drugmakers provide discounts to eligible healthcare providers that serve low-income populations. Drugmakers are required to participate in the 340B program in order to receive funds from government health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Many providers eligible for the program do not have in-house pharmacies, and so contract with outside pharmacies. In 2010, HHS issued new guidance stating…