WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a major win for seniors and patients struggling to afford their necessary medications, on Monday a U.S. District Judge rejected lawsuits from Bristol Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson seeking to block the Inflation Reduction Act’s measures giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices directly with drug manufacturers. Pharmaceutical giants Bristol Myers and J&J had challenged the Biden administration’s authority to name blood clot prevention drugs Eliquis from Bristol Myers and Xarelto from J&J among the first 10 drugs subject to negotiation. The program is expected to save nearly 19 million seniors and other Medicare Part D enrollees $400 a year in 2025 at a time 1-in-4 Americans say they cannot afford their prescriptions. 

While the ruling now marks the fourth federal courtroom to uphold Medicare’s power to negotiate, big pharma is only escalating its legal challenges to stop the administration from lowering Americans’ drug costs to protect industry’s record profits. On Wednesday, trade group PhRMA is presenting oral arguments in the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on their appeal against a Texas federal judge’s dismissal of their case to block Medicare negotiation for lack of “subject matter jurisdiction to bring the lawsuit.” The Fifth Circuit has faced increasing scrutiny over its routine involvement in industry’s judge and venue shopping legal strategy. And Bristol Myers Squibb has already moved to appeal Monday’s loss in district court while J&J reportedly too “plans to appeal the decision.”

Big drug companies keep shuffling from one courtroom to the next to claim they can and should be able to hike prices however they want on life-saving medicines. Based on record industry profits, the only thing big pharma needs to do is get its greed in check."

Accountable.US Executive Director Tony Carrk

“No matter how many federal judges affirm Medicare’s power to negotiate lower drug costs, industry CEOs continue to push their lawsuits to delay seniors from saving billions of dollars a year as long as they can. While Bristol Myers and J&J are already planning appeals, PhRMA is going judge shopping in the conservative Fifth District further seeking validation for industry price-gouging practices. Clogging the court system to keep drug prices high is profiteering at its worst,” added Carrk. 


  • Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS): In February, BMS reported $8 billion in 2023 net earnings, up from $6.4 billion in 2022. The staggering total came as the company faced sharp criticism for charging U.S. patients a predatory $7,100 for its blood thinner, Eliquis, when the same medication can be purchased in Canada for $900 or just $650 in France. In 2023, Eliquis brought in nearly $8.6 billion for BMS in just the United States, a 10% increase from the prior year. 
  • Johnson & Johnson (J&J): In April, J&J announced $21.38 billion in Q1 2024 sales  — exceeding Q1 2023 and bringing in $5.35 billion in profit. Three of the drugs J&J produce were selected for the initial round of Medicare drug negotiations.
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