Judge blocks Trump rule requiring drug companies to list prices in TV ads

With the 2020 presidential election race underway, the Trump administration has searched for ways to appeal to Americans burdened by the high cost of health care and prescription drugs.

Judge blocks Trump rule requiring drug companies to list prices in TV ads

Judge Amit P. Mehta, of U.S. 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.

With the 2020 presidential election race underway, the Trump administration has searched for ways to appeal to Americans burdened by the high cost of health care and prescription drugs.

The Affordable Care Act was once a reliable campaign trail villain for President Donald Trump, but leading Republicans in Congress have become reluctant to revisit repealing the federal health care law. An appeals court in New Orleans on Tuesday is set to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare.

In some ways, rising drug prices have provided a more populist issue for the president and members of Congress. Politicians in both parties have clamored to show they are doing something, but little has changed and many companies have continued to raise their prices.

The administration’s effort to provide transparency in drug pricing was seen as largely symbolic — a way to hold drugmakers accountable for their prices, even if it did not directly do anything to lower costs and even if those prices were not what consumers usually paid.

Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the administration was disappointed and was consulting with the Justice Department on what to do next. “Although we are not surprised by the objections to transparency from certain special interests,” she said, “putting drug prices in ads is a useful way to put patients in control and lower costs.”

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment on whether the administration would immediately appeal the ruling.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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