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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration Monday from implementing a new rule that would require pharmaceutical firms to include the wholesale prices of their drugs in TV advertising, Reuters reports.

The big picture: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced the new rule in May and it was due to take effect on Tuesday. But U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., sided with drugmakers Merck & Co, Eli Lilly and Co and Amgen to halt the HHS rule.

What he's saying: Mehta said in his ruling the court does not question the motives of HHS in adopting the rule, but it doesn't have the authority to drug firms to disclose prices, according to The Hill. "Nor does it take any view on the wisdom of requiring drug companies to disclose prices," he said, per The Hill.

"That policy very well could be an effective tool in halting the rising cost of prescription drugs. But 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."

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Sara Fischer: TV advertising is an especially important medium for drug companies, which often struggle to advertise on digital channels, due to lengthy side effect disclosure requirements.

Go deeper:

This article has been updated with analysis from Fischer and Judge Mehta's comments.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the gender of the judge.

Go deeper

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Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.