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.
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.