WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
More than four dozen members of the legal academic community signed their names to an amicus brief filed by attorneys at Hagens Berman in ongoing class-action lawsuits regarding the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Medicare and alleged threats to accessibility of affordable lifesaving prescription medications.
HAGENS BERMAN’S SUPPORT
For more than 20 years, Hagens Berman has dedicated itself to fighting unlawful behavior that bars access to lifesaving medicines and drives up the price of prescription drugs. The firm’s history of combating rising costs of prescription drugs is strengthened by its new recruits, who have been the driving force of Hagens Berman’s supporting efforts in the IRA case against Bristol Myers Squibb and Janssen.
The 59-page amicus brief details the constitutionality of government price negotiations and price regulations, and the federal government’s use of patents, as well as the far-reaching consequences of a ruling in favor of BMS and Janssen.
The brief introduction states, “The most decisive driver of high drug prices are the monopoly rights that governments grant to drug makers, allowing them to exclude competitors and raise prices.”
ABOUT THE PENDING LITIGATION
The landmark litigation against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services challenges the constitutionality of the IRA to negotiate drug prices following the Biden administration's efforts to curtail spiking drug costs and consumer costs when President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Aug. 16, 2022.
According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the new law requires drug companies that raise their drug prices faster than the rate of inflation to pay Medicare a rebate: “This will lead to a stronger Medicare for current and future enrollees and discourage unreasonable price increases by drug companies.”
Litigation against the government regarding IRA began when drugmaker Merck & Co. argued it stands to suffer harm from the price negotiations, alleging that the IRA price negotiations violate the company's First and Fifth Amendments. Drug makers pushing back against the law allegedly seek to be above the law, arguing a right to monopolize prices they have been charging the government.
“Pharmaceutical companies enjoy some of the highest profit margins in the United States—and will continue to do so even after full implementation of this program,” the amicus brief states.
RIGHTS TO FAIR DRUG-PRICING
Hagens Berman believes action must be taken for the millions of people living without access to affordable lifesaving prescription medications. “The courts have long recognized that the federal government, like any private party, is authorized to negotiate the prices of the goods it purchases without running afoul of the Takings Clause. There is no constitutional entitlement to government purchase of goods at prices a seller unilaterally dictates,” reads the amicus brief.
TOP PHARMA LAW FIRM
Hagens Berman is one of the most successful plaintiff litigation law firms in the U.S. taking on pharmaceutical companies, and has achieved total settlements valued at more than $320 billion, including settlements with some of Big Pharma’s largest sellers and manufacturers over antitrust schemes, pay-for-delay, IP shams and other forms of wrongdoing that drive up the costs of prescription drugs for people who need them. The firm also achieved the top two antitrust settlements to reach final approval in 2022, totaling nearly $800 million: In Re Glumetza Antitrust Litigation and In re Ranbaxy Generic Drug Application Antitrust Litigation, per the 2022 Antitrust Annual Report published by Huntington Bank and UC Law SF’s Center for Litigation and Courts.