Merck to challenge Biden administration's drug negotiation program: 'Tantamount to extortion'

Drugmaker Merck has filed a lawsuit against Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a federal court alleging that President Joe Biden's effort to negotiate down the cost of drugs under Medicare is "tantamount to extortion," according to a June 6 report from Politico.

Merck aims to block the administration from enforcing the drug pricing program, part of the Inflation Reduction Act, claiming that it is unconstitutional and that the company will be subject to high fines if it refuses to comply with government pricing. 

"It involves neither genuine 'negotiations' nor real 'agreements.' Rather, once HHS unilaterally selects a drug for inclusion in the program, its manufacturer is compelled to sign an 'agreement' promising to sell the drug to Medicare beneficiaries at whatever 'fair' price the agency dictates, which must represent at least a 25 percent to 60 percent discount," reads Merck's complaint

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