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Judge Dismisses Challenges on Medicare Drug Negotiation from Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson

Bristol Myers Squibb (Credits: The Hill)

A federal judge has dismissed legal challenges to the Medicare negotiation program brought by Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson, ruling that their claims of unconstitutionality are unfounded.

The two pharmaceutical companies had filed separate lawsuits alleging that the program, created through the Inflation Reduction Act, violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights by forcing them to participate in negotiations, potentially leading to “compelled speech” and unfair compensation.

Johnson & Johnson (Credits: CNBC)

However, Judge Zahid Quraishi disagreed, finding that participation in the program is voluntary, and any financial consequences for not participating do not constitute a “physical taking” of property. He also ruled that the program regulates conduct, not speech and that any impact on the companies’ speech is incidental.

The judge dismissed the companies’ concerns about being forced to label non-negotiated prices as “unfair” as “public relations problems, not constitutional problems.” He granted summary judgment in favor of the government, closing the case.

J&J, Bristol Myers lose challenges to US drug price negotiation (Credits: Accountable US)

Bristol Myers Squibb has already filed an appeal, while Johnson & Johnson expressed disappointment with the ruling, citing concerns about the impact on medical innovation and patient access.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra welcomed the ruling, stating that it paves the way for driving down prescription drug costs in America. This is the fourth lawsuit challenging Medicare negotiation to be thrown out, following a similar ruling in Texas earlier this year.

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