Merck sued the Biden administration on Tuesday, alleging that the Medicare's ability to negotiate drug prices is unconstitutional. Photo by Hasan Bratic/EPA-EFE
June 6 (UPI) -- The drugmaker Merck sued the Biden administration on Tuesday, alleging that the Medicare's ability to neg otiate drug prices is unconstitutional.
The pharmaceutical company called the negotiation process "political Kabuki theater," likened it to extortion, according to a complaint filed against Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in federal court.
Merck also argued that the negotiation program, which is part of the Inflation Reduction Act, violates the company's First and Fifth Amendment rights.
"Because this statute unlawfully impairs our core purpose of engaging in innovative research that saves and improves lives, Merck intends to litigate this matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary," Robert Josephson, a Merck spokesperson, said in a statement, according to Politico.
As part of the IRA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will negotiate what Medicare pays for 10 widely used, high-priced drugs with no generic competition.
"Under the IRA, the Government will requisition Merck's patented pharmaceutical products and transfer them to Medicare beneficiaries through forced sales," Merck said in its complaint. "Those forced sales -- coerced by the threat of draconian penalties that the Government has admitted no manufacturer could ever rationally afford to pay -- will deprive Merck of possession and title to its personal property."
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are scheduled to publish a list of drugs that will be negotiated by Sept. 1. The companies then have until October to come to an agreement on the prices.
Merck has said that its Type 2 diabetes drug Januvia will be subject to a negotiation agreement this year.