Obama Appointed Judge Blocks Trump Administration Efforts To Lower Drug Prices


That’s the reaction of millions as news of the ruling by an Obama-appointed federal judge to deny the recent Trump administration requirement that drug companies disclose the prices of their products to consumers during on-air advertising begins to circulate across the country. President Trump continues to fight to reduce drug costs while the deeply-imbedded remnants of the Obama pay-to-play political climate continue to try and protect the drug companies.

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Via: The New York Times

A federal judge ruled on Monday that the Trump administration cannot force pharmaceutical companies to disclose the list price of their drugs in television ads, dealing a blow to one of the president’s most visible efforts to pressure drug companies to lower their prices.

Judge Amit P. Mehta, of the United States District Court in the District of Columbia, ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services exceeded its regulatory authority by seeking to require all drugmakers to include in their television commercials the list price of any drug that costs more than $35 a month. The rule was to take effect this week.

The effort to include more transparency in drug pricing has been a cornerstone of the president’s efforts to tap into the public’s outrage over the rising costs of prescription drugs. Last week, he said he would be issuing an executive order on drug pricing, but the breadth of the order remained unclear.

Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen had sued to block the rule in June, arguing that forcing companies to disclose their list prices was beyond the reach of the federal government as well as a violation of the First Amendment. The companies also said that many patients have health insurance that lowers their out-of-pocket costs, and seeing the higher list price might lead them to stop taking drugs they needed.

The Trump administration, including Secretary Alex M. Azar II of health and human services, had argued that requiring such disclosure could shame the drugmakers into lowering their prices.

Judge Mehta did not delve into whether the proposed rule violated the First Amendment. He relied instead on whether the Department of Health and Human Services had overstepped its bounds.
While saying the court did not question the agency’s motives, he wrote: “Nor does it take any view on the wisdom of requiring drug companies to disclose prices. That policy very well could 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, H.H.S. cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance.”

The drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson began disclosing its list price in TV ads, but three other drug manufacturers sued the government to avoid such disclosures.

The drug lobby is a powerful force in Washington D.C. buying up influence from both Democrats and Republicans via tens of millions of dollars per year:

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Just look at the disparity in donations during the last presidential election cycle:

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And how much flows into the halls of Congress:

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It’s the undeniable truth of most politicians but especially of Barack Obama’s eight years of pro-big pharma dealings that made up so much of what was, and is, the Obamacare law which has resulted in massive drug company profits paid for by the U.S. taxpayer even as drug costs continue to escalate year after year.

President Trump, a man far removed from the D.C. elite, is working on behalf of the American people.

This week an Obama-appointed judge moved to protect the pay-to-play machinations that were the foundation of the elitist Obama era, ruling to protect the interests of the drug companies and against the consumer protection needs of everyday Americans.