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HHS Sec. Alex Azar and President Donald Trump talk about reducing drug costs. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration's newly finalized rules requiring drugmakers to include prices in their TV ads could spark a flurry of lawsuits — first to challenge the rules, and then to enforce them.

Between the lines: If the rule survives the legal challenges that may be coming its way, there are still plenty of questions about whether it'll actually help lower drug prices.

The big picture: The rule requires TV ads for most drugs to disclose their list prices, along with a statement that each patient's costs may depend on their insurance. (Here's what that looks like in practice.)

What they're saying: “We believe there are operational challenges...and think the final rule raises First Amendment and statutory concerns," the industry trade group PhRMA said in a statement yesterday.

  • The Advertising Coalition — which includes advertisers and broadcasters — also wrote in public comments that "the proposed regulation is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment."
  • “There are plenty of potential challengers out there who could reasonably assert that they’d be damaged by implementation of the rule," Manatt Health's Ian Spatz said.

Yes, but: In the scheme of things, this isn't the biggest threat facing drugmakers right now.

  • "Sure, drug companies would prefer not to post their list prices. But everyone seems to agree that the rule won't accomplish much, so is it really worth the hassle of a lawsuit?" University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley said. "PhRMA might save its powder for fights that matter more."

What's next: The regulation also relies on lawsuits to ensure compliance.

  • The federal government will keep a list of drugs whose ads violate the rule. Those manufacturers would then face the threat of lawsuits from their competitors.
  • "The big companies may be unlikely to sue one another under this provision, but smaller companies could sue bigger ones, or generic makers might bring actions for noncompliance," said former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
  • But there's some skepticism that this is a workable enforcement mechanism.
  • "I think it's highly unlikely, 1) that competitors would be interested in doing this, and 2) that they’d have the ability to prove any competitive harm," Spatz said.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.