Judge blocks Trump administration bid to require drug prices in TV ads | News Coverage from USA

Judge blocks Trump administration bid to require drug prices in TV ads

A federal judge on Monday blocked a Trump administration regulation that aimed to reduce prescription drug prices. 

The administration does not have the authority to require drugmakers include their prices in television ads, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled in Washington, D.C.

While President Donald Trump vowed to lower pharmaceutical prices last year amid public outcry, the judge’s ruling came one day before the disclosure rule was set to go into effect. Drugmakers fought the rule with a lawsuit in June. 

“No matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized,” Mehta wrote. “The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance.”

Opinion: How the Trump prescription for drug prices transparency could make health care well again

Mehta did not share drugmakers’ argument that a disclosure requirement violates companies’ First Amendment rights of free speech. Instead, he noted the policy could be effective in controlling rising prescription drug costs. 

The Department of Health and Human Services said it will work on next steps in the case. The administration may appeal the ruling and request Congress issue a TV ad price disclosure requirement. 

Three major drug manufacturers — Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen — brought up the lawsuit. They also argued patients with insurance would not pay the full prices listed in ads. 

AARP vice president Nancy LeaMond called the ruling a disappointment. 

“Today’s ruling is a step backward in the battle against skyrocketing drug prices,” she said in a statement. “Americans should be trusted to evaluate drug price information and discuss any concerns with their health care providers.”

The administration announced the disclosure rule in May, targeting medications costing more than $35 for a month’s supply. HHS Secretary Alex Azar, previously an executive at Eli Lily, called the regulation a move toward transparency. 

Mehta was nominated to the federal bench by former President Barack Obama.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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