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Chamber of Commerce asks judge to block Medicare drug negotiations

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce seal is displayed during restoration at the headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday asked a federal judge in Ohio to block Medicare’s new powers to negotiate drug prices before October 1.

The motion for a preliminary injunction is a significant escalation in the pharmaceutical industry’s legal battle against Medicare that would halt the talks before they begin this fall.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will publish a list of 10 high-cost drugs by September 1 that are selected for the negotiations. Drugmakers then have to decide whether to sign agreements to participate in the talks by October 1.

The U.S. Chamber and local chambers of commerce in Dayton, Ohio and Michigan sued Medicare in federal court in the southern district of Ohio in June. They argued that the drug negotiations violate the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the separation of powers.

The Chamber asked Judge Thomas Rose on Wednesday to block the negotiations before they get underway because they violate the due process clause.

Drugmaker Abbvie, a member of the U.S. Chamber and the Dayton, Ohio area chamber, fears that its blood cancer drug Imbruvica will be selected for the negotiations this fall. Imbruvica generated $4.6 billion in revenue last year, or about 8% of the company’s total sales.

CNBC Health & Science

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This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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