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Washington - U.S. Judge Strikes Down Trump Administration Rule Requiring Drug Prices In TV Ads

Published on: July 8, 2019 10:50 PM
By: Reuters
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A pharmacist refills a container in a drug dispensing machine at the Rock Canyon pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., May 9, 2019.  REUTERS/George FreyA pharmacist refills a container in a drug dispensing machine at the Rock Canyon pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., May 9, 2019.  REUTERS/George Frey

Washington -  A federal judge on Monday dealt a blow to the Trump administration by striking down a new rule that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to include the wholesale prices of their drugs in television advertising.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington sided with drugmakers Merck & Co Inc, Eli Lilly and Co and Amgen Inc by halting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule from taking effect on Tuesday as planned.

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Mehta in his ruling set aside the entire rule as invalid, saying the HHS lacked authority from the U.S. Congress to compel drug manufacturers to disclose list prices.

“It is outrageous that an Obama appointed judge sided with big PhRMA to keep high drug prices secret from the American people, leaving patients and families as the real victims,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement, referring to President Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, is the largest industry lobbying group.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced the rule on May 8, saying that forcing drugmakers to disclose their prices in direct-to-consumer TV advertising could help drive down skyrocketing prescription drug costs if the companies were embarrassed by them or afraid they would scare away customers.

The rule was originally suggested in May 2018 as part of Trump’s “blueprint” to lower prescription drug costs for U.S. consumers.

The judge said such disclosures could well be an effective tool in halting the rising cost of prescription drugs. “But no matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized,” Mehta concluded.

Under the rule, the wholesale, or list, price would be included if it was $35 or more for a month’s supply or the usual course of therapy. HHS said the 10 most commonly advertised drugs had list prices of $488 to $16,938 per month or for a usual course of therapy.

Many drugmakers have opposed the rule. PhRMA said the list prices could be confusing for patients and discourage them from seeking medical care.

Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen filed their lawsuit alongside the Association Of National Advertisers trade group on June 14, arguing the rule would confuse consumers by forcing them to disclose a price irrelevant to patients with insurance.

Drugmakers have long argued that list prices do not reflect the actual cost of drugs as they do not take into account discounts and rebates negotiated with health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to ensure patient access to the medicines.

The lawsuit alleged that HHS lacked authority to issue the rule and that it violated their free-speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Justice Department defended the rule in court, saying it met a standard the U.S. Supreme Court set in 1985, when it held the government could force advertisers to disclose factual, non-controversial information.



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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 09, 2019 at 07:21 AM Anonymous Says:

What a political hack! Obama appointed Justice would rather side with BIG RICH CORPORATIONS (something the Dems hate) then side with poor American people as long as it hurts Trump SHAMEFUL!!!

2

 Jul 09, 2019 at 07:32 AM Educated Archy Says:

Unbelievable how biased our courts are. This is not a check and balance . It's a game where the well connected go to whatever judge they see fit to suite their agenda . With Trump one just has to find some liberal anti trump but job .
And let me be clear this issue shouldn't be a trump issue . The drug price issue is a national issue . If say this was the census immigration question debate I'd agree that's a political issue ( although there too I
am mad) But in this case there is one reason to block it. It's because we need to oppose trump and block every smart law he comes out with so he won't succeed . Shame shame on this fake so called judge .

Ps phineas and yoni don't start selling me " the law ". That's nonsense . You know this is politically motivated . Don't sell me garbage

3

 Jul 09, 2019 at 09:32 AM georgeg Says:

"it violated their free-speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution" If that were true, then Congress could not even make a law forcing the disclosure of prices - the whole point of having a Constitution is the prevent Congress from making a law that violates the Constitution.

4

 Jul 09, 2019 at 10:52 AM Phineas Says:

Reply to #2  
Educated Archy Says:

Unbelievable how biased our courts are. This is not a check and balance . It's a game where the well connected go to whatever judge they see fit to suite their agenda . With Trump one just has to find some liberal anti trump but job .
And let me be clear this issue shouldn't be a trump issue . The drug price issue is a national issue . If say this was the census immigration question debate I'd agree that's a political issue ( although there too I
am mad) But in this case there is one reason to block it. It's because we need to oppose trump and block every smart law he comes out with so he won't succeed . Shame shame on this fake so called judge .

Ps phineas and yoni don't start selling me " the law ". That's nonsense . You know this is politically motivated . Don't sell me garbage

No, it really is the law. I work with HHS because I do work for a medical technology company. HHS power is very circumscribed. If Trump wants to do this, he should tell Congress to empower HHS to do this. If Dems or anyone else resists then it should be used against them at election time. I think Trump has the makings of a good idea here but he needs Congress. By the way, that is how a conservative would rule. The conservative approach is to give government no more power than what Congress allows.

5

 Jul 09, 2019 at 12:22 PM yamsar Says:

Reply to #4  
Phineas Says:

No, it really is the law. I work with HHS because I do work for a medical technology company. HHS power is very circumscribed. If Trump wants to do this, he should tell Congress to empower HHS to do this. If Dems or anyone else resists then it should be used against them at election time. I think Trump has the makings of a good idea here but he needs Congress. By the way, that is how a conservative would rule. The conservative approach is to give government no more power than what Congress allows.

Gosh! You’re still trying with him?

6

 Jul 09, 2019 at 12:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Educated Archy Says:

Unbelievable how biased our courts are. This is not a check and balance . It's a game where the well connected go to whatever judge they see fit to suite their agenda . With Trump one just has to find some liberal anti trump but job .
And let me be clear this issue shouldn't be a trump issue . The drug price issue is a national issue . If say this was the census immigration question debate I'd agree that's a political issue ( although there too I
am mad) But in this case there is one reason to block it. It's because we need to oppose trump and block every smart law he comes out with so he won't succeed . Shame shame on this fake so called judge .

Ps phineas and yoni don't start selling me " the law ". That's nonsense . You know this is politically motivated . Don't sell me garbage

Amazing you you blindly follow Trump and seem to have as much of an understanding of our government and our laws as Trump does. Congress, not the President can require that advertising include prices. Mitch McConnell or Devin Nunes can introduce such legislation, but I'm certain the conservatives will oppose it as an intrusion of government into the marketplace. Big pharma would immediately go to court to fight it.
The Trump wonderful medical insurance plan promised for this week may cover drug costs.

7

 Jul 09, 2019 at 12:59 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #4  
Phineas Says:

No, it really is the law. I work with HHS because I do work for a medical technology company. HHS power is very circumscribed. If Trump wants to do this, he should tell Congress to empower HHS to do this. If Dems or anyone else resists then it should be used against them at election time. I think Trump has the makings of a good idea here but he needs Congress. By the way, that is how a conservative would rule. The conservative approach is to give government no more power than what Congress allows.

Its the law? Baloney? The law can always be interpreted as you like.
Its as baloney as the fact that you do work with the HHS. same garabge.

This is politically motivated. Don't sell me lukshen torah. There is a reason they went to NY and not Texas where conservative judges are.

By the way, that is how a conservative would rule
Ok who says I am a consevative. I never bought the gun law argument either. You think i care that its the second amendment.? If it truly saves lives then why would a law trump a human life? (No pun intended). Like waht happened to common sense. Same argument for nazis. yes they have free speech but hwen they kill peop[le should they stioll have free speech.

You have to think out of the box. you can;'t be harry who just says hey its the law bla bla. Thats klein kepadik. Commonsense comes first.

8

 Jul 09, 2019 at 01:34 PM Phineas Says:

Reply to #7  
Educated Archy Says:

Its the law? Baloney? The law can always be interpreted as you like.
Its as baloney as the fact that you do work with the HHS. same garabge.

This is politically motivated. Don't sell me lukshen torah. There is a reason they went to NY and not Texas where conservative judges are.

By the way, that is how a conservative would rule
Ok who says I am a consevative. I never bought the gun law argument either. You think i care that its the second amendment.? If it truly saves lives then why would a law trump a human life? (No pun intended). Like waht happened to common sense. Same argument for nazis. yes they have free speech but hwen they kill peop[le should they stioll have free speech.

You have to think out of the box. you can;'t be harry who just says hey its the law bla bla. Thats klein kepadik. Commonsense comes first.

It's a good thing you're not a poseik. You have no understanding of how precedent and legal interpretation works. It's rare to find someone opine so confidentiality about something they know nothing about.

Let Trump take it to the Supreme Court. It's a worthy idea. Let Congress pass a law.

9

 Jul 09, 2019 at 03:53 PM Butterfly Says:

and they want the prices to go up up up!!

10

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