Three pharmaceutical companies sued the federal government Friday to prevent a proposal requiring drug manufacturers include the list price of prescription drugs in television ads, the latest volley by the industry as it faces criticism over escalating cost of its products.
The lawsuit against the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, filed jointly in U.S. District Court by Amgen Inc. AMGN, -0.36% , Merck & Co. MRK, +0.52% , Eli Lilly & Co. LLY, -0.07% and the Association of National Advertisers, alleges that the proposed rule violates the First Amendment by compelling drugmakers to communicate list prices in TV ads.
The companies and trade organization allege the agency lacks the authority to enact the mandate, according to the complaint. And they say the rule will create unnecessary confusion among patients and may discourage them from seeking treatment or medical information. The complaint says that few of the 65 million Americans on Medicaid pay more than an $8 copay for prescription drugs.
The proposed rule was finalized in May by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is set to take effect in July. It is among the efforts by the Trump administration to make health care more affordable in the U.S. Officials also want to stop billions of dollars in annual rebates that drugmakers give middlemen in Medicare that are known as pharmacy-benefit managers.
The government has said the proposed rule would increase transparency around prices and allow patients to make informed decisions based on cost. Government officials also have said the rule could spur drug companies to reduce prices.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.