The Trump administration is appealing a district court judge's decision to block a rule that would have required television and streaming video ads for prescription drugs to include their list price.
The Health and Human Services agency, which on Wednesday filed paperwork initiating an appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, hasn't yet made any substantive arguments to that court.
The government's move comes around six weeks after U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C. blocked the new ad regulation on the grounds that the Health and Human Services agency lacked authority to issue it.
Mehta issued the ruling in response to a lawsuit brought in June by the Association of National Advertisers and three pharmaceutical companies -- Merck, Eli Lilly and Amgen. They said the rule was unconstitutional, and asked for an order preventing the rule from taking effect.
Among other arguments, the challengers said the rule would require misleading disclosures, because the “list” price is higher than the out-of-pocket cost for many consumers.
Dan Jaffe, executive vice president for government relations at the ANA, says the organization continues to oppose the price disclosure rule.
“Our strong belief is that the rule is defective in two major grounds,” Jaffe says.
He contends that the agency exceeded its authority in passing the broad rule, and that the rule violates the First Amendment by requiring disclosures that are “misleading to the vast majority of consumers.”
Jaffe adds that the pharmaceutical industry isn't alone in facing pressure to make additional disclosures to consumers. For instance, last week the Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule requiring cigarette packages to include graphic images illustrating the dangers of smoking -- such as an amputated foot with gangrenous toes.
And in California, Berkeley passed an ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to warn consumers about possible radiation exposure.
Last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the industry group CTIA-The Wireless Association's request to block the law.
The ANA had sided with CTIA in the case, arguing in a friend-of-the-court brief that the ordinance was unlawful.