A federal judge put a last-minute block on the Trump administration’s rule forcing drug companies to include prices in television ads Monday night.
“To be sure, the costs imposed by the … Rule amount to a rounding error for the pharmaceutical industry,” Judge Amit Mehta wrote in his ruling according to Stat News. “But that argument misses the point. It is the agency’s incursion into a brand-new regulatory environment, and the rationale for it, that make the Rule so consequential.”
Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar characterized the rule as “the single most significant step any administration has taken” toward drug pricing transparency in May.
Then major pharmaceutical companies Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen sued the administration over the rule in June.
Mehta’s ruling that HHS did not have the authority to make the rule rolled in just hours before the rule was set to go into effect, reported Stat News. The drug companies said the rule encroached on their free speech, but Mehta did not address that topic.
HHS plans to work with the Department of Justice “on next steps related to the litigation,” HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said according to Stat News.
The administration finalized the rule in May. It would apply to all drugs that cost more than $35 for a month supply. In addition, the rule has support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Both Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin support it.
Mehta is an Obama appointee and federal judge on the DC District Court.
HHS did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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