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Chamber of Commerce sues Biden administration over federal control of drug prices

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced Friday it is suing the Biden administration over the Medicare price negotiation provisions that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act, becoming the second organization to challenge the measure after Merck filed a lawsuit earlier this week.

“Government price controls harm patients, limit access to medicine, and stifle American innovation. Moreover, the new provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) violate fundamental protections for free enterprise enshrined in our Constitution, which would have far-reaching implications in the future,” the Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

The suit was filed against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

In its complaint, the Chamber alleged the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program that was established by the IRA violates the principles of separation of powers within the federal government.

The suit accuses the IRA of consolidating “unfettered and unchecked power” to HHS.

More health care coverage from The Hill

Similar to Merck’s lawsuit, the Chamber of Commerce also alleged Medicare’s new drug price negotiation program violates the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment, which states that no “private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

It further alleged the penalties applied to companies who don’t comply with the negotiation process amounted to excessive fines that violate the Eighth Amendment.

The organization also echoed a commonly held argument against drug price controls, saying it would impede medical innovation.

“When the government caps prices, it caps innovation and endangers access to better treatments — harming patients the most,” the lobbying group said. “The new IRA provisions establish an artificial and arbitrary system for devising price caps that will jeopardize medical breakthroughs for individuals with life-threatening and chronic illnesses.”

The Chamber of Commerce has asked the court to block HHS from implementing the IRA’s drug price negotiation program entirely and to declare it unconstitutional.

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