The Dayton-area Chamber of Commerce is backing drug companies litigating price controls

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While we’d all like to see a market-based reduction in prescription drug prices, the government shouldn’t set prices for private industry, Kershner said. We believe this filing was a natural course of action to protect the rights of our business community. We were pleased that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the United States Chamber of Commerce have joined together in support of this business filing.

Constitutional challenge

The lawsuit, which is filed in the US District Court for the Western Division of the Southern District of Ohio, is a constitutional challenge, saying drug companies are being forced to pay price cuts they haven’t negotiated or face a fine .

The IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) uses the term negotiation to mislead the public into believing that a voluntary and fair bargaining process will take place between the government and pharmaceutical companies. The reality, however, is that Congress has not entered into negotiations at all. Congress created an unprecedented unilateral regime that forces manufacturers to sell drugs at government-set prices. The appropriate term for this is mandatory price control, not negotiation, says the lawsuit signed by attorneys Gregory A. Ruehlmann and Tami H. Kirby, attorneys representing the Dayton, Ohio, Michigan and United States Chambers of Commerce.

Drug prices are unfairly low and government-imposed, the lawsuit says, which adds that requiring drug makers to stick to these prices will disrupt drug research and cost jobs.

We are suing to block an illegal and arbitrary government price control scheme, said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Price controls lead to shortages and rationing, she said, meaning there will be less access to new drugs and treatments.

This attempt to impose price controls by the government is a dangerous precedent that needs to be stopped, Bradley said. After all, if the government can impose price controls in the pharmaceutical industry, why not elsewhere?

Pharmaceutical companies that want to drop government health care programs like Medicare would also have to face selling drugs at set prices in the meantime, or face penalties, as statutory delays mean it would take 11 to 23 months before a manufacturer withdraws from the government program.

Drug price controls exceed the powers of Congress, as well as deny drug makers legal due process under the Fifth Amendment, impose excessive fines and compel speech in violation of the First Amendment, the lawsuit says. The chambers involved in the lawsuit are asking the court to declare drug price controls unconstitutional and to ban them.

Member of the House for Dayton

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce comprises more than 2,200 businesses and organizations in a 14-county area surrounding Dayton. The chambers involved in the lawsuit also represent members who would be directly subject to the Inflation Reduction Acts’ drug price controls, including AbbVie, which is a member of the Dayton Area Chamber and the US Chamber, and markets the drug IMBRUVICA.

IMBRUVICA is an anticancer drug used to treat adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, small lymphocytic lymphoma, or Waldenstrms macroglobulinemia, which are cancers involving white blood cells.

The drug was also one of Part D’s top 10 gross annual expenses for the 2021 plan year, according to the lawsuit, which cites data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The government spent $3.15 billion on the drug in 2021, according to CMS data. The average retail price for IMBRUVICA is around $16,390, according to GoodRx.

If selected to be part of the drug price control program, AbbVie would have to sell IMBRUVICA at unreasonably low prices below current market prices, the lawsuit says. AbbVie should also disclose confidential proprietary information during the trading process.

The Dayton Daily News reached out to AbbVie for comment.

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