A federal judge yesterday (July 8th) blocked a Trump administration rule that would have required pharmaceutical companies to show prices for its drugs in TV ads for them, stopping the rule just hours before it was to go into effect. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had announced the rule in May, saying that if the companies had to show their drug prices in ads they'd keep them as low as possible. Pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Co., and Amgen Inc. had challenged the rule, contending that it violated their free speech rights. But U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta didn't base his decision on that point. Instead he said that the administration didn't have the legal authority to impose the rule. He said, "No matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance."
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