March 7, 2024 Press Releases

STATEMENT: Patients For Affordable Drugs’ Statement On Oral Arguments In Four Lawsuits Against Medicare Drug Price Negotiation

Patients For Affordable Drugs Continues to Fight Against Big Pharma’s Attempts to Undermine Medicare Drug Price Negotiation As Some Of The Largest Drug Companies Have Their Day In Court


WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Oral arguments were presented today in four cases brought by Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Novartis, and Novo Nordisk challenging Medicare’s authority to negotiate lower drug prices for patients. During the proceedings, the judge expressed skepticism of the assertions from the corporations that anything other than maintaining their bottom line motivated their challenge to Medicare negotiation.

These four lawsuits – coordinated with other cases in courts across the country by drug corporations – aim to overturn Medicare’s authority to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, as established in the Inflation Reduction Act. In the cases heard today, the drug companies attempted to protect their ability to continue to dictate the prices of some of the most profitable brand-name drugs in the world, including Eliquis by BMS, Imbruvica, Stelara, and Xarelto by J&J, Entresto from Novartis, and various Novo Nordisk insulin products including Novolog and Fiasp.

Merith Basey, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs, issued the following statement:

“Today’s arguments are a reminder that drug companies will go to any lengths and spend millions of dollars to maintain their power to dictate drug prices to the people of our nation. The government once again presented a strong case against the industry’s army of high-priced lawyers and effectively argued that Medicare was never intended to serve as a blank check for Big Pharma to charge Medicare whatever prices it chooses. If successful, these lawsuits would not only jeopardize access to vital medications for millions of Americans but also squander the opportunity for close to $100 billion in savings for taxpayers.

“Patients For Affordable Drugs stands firm in our commitment to defend these hard-fought reforms that are already lowering drug prices. We have been pleased to sign on to seven Amicus briefs in these cases. As evidenced by recent victories for patients and consumers in court, we are continuing to make progress in the battle against pharma’s monopoly power, but the fight is far from over.”

Last week, a federal judge in Delaware ruled against another pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in a case brought by the drug company also seeking to overturn Medicare’s negotiation program. The judge’s ruling affirms the Biden administration’s authority to negotiate drug prices, safeguarding critical reforms introduced by the historic drug price law. Previously, a federal district judge in Texas dismissed a similar lawsuit from the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in February, and a District Judge in Ohio ruled against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s case in September. That’s three times that a judge has ruled against pharma and for patients of the United States.

Bob Parant, a patient in New York living with diabetes, said today, “One of the drugs I take, in addition to insulin and all my diabetic needs, is Entresto, which is manufactured by Novartis. My first prescription this year was $530 for 90 days. Even after deductibles are met, I still have high tier-three costs. The medication is so expensive that many seniors I know who are prescribed Entresto cannot pay for it. Therefore they are not protected against further heart failure and suffer the consequences. If these lawsuits succeed millions of Americans will be even more in debt and at risk as they ration their medication.”

Patients For Affordable Drugs Now has thus far signed onto seven amicus briefs, including in all of the cases heard today, led by Public Citizen and supported by Protect Our Care, Doctors for America, and Families USA to support the government’s opposition and explain the harm high drug prices have on people on Medicare.

Background on Medicare negotiation:

  • The U.S. is the only high-income nation that doesn’t negotiate prices with drug companies, resulting in Americans paying 3-8 times what other high-income countries pay for the same brand name drugs.
  • The 10 drugs chosen for negotiation were identified as the top spending drugs covered under Medicare Part D without generic or biosimilar equivalents that have been on the market for at least seven years and also meet other selection criteria.
  • Unlike every other sector in health care where Medicare sets prices such as doctor fees, hospital costs, and equipment, pharmaceutical companies have been exempt from any form of negotiation.
  • Pharmaceutical companies have the option to participate in Medicare voluntarily. They can accept slightly lower negotiated prices if they want to tap that huge market worth billions.
  • Medicare negotiation is supported by more than 80 percent of voters.
  • Big pharmaceutical companies poured $52 million into lobbying efforts last year to stop the Inflation Reduction Act – a clear sign of the money they’re willing to spend to block initiatives aimed at lowering drug prices for consumers.
  • In 2022 alone, BMS, J&J, Novartis, and Novo Nordisk made a combined $46.06 billion in revenue from the drugs being negotiated.
    • Eliquis (Bristol Meyers Squibb)
      • Number of people on Medicare 2022-2023: 3,706,000
      • Average prescription cost for Part D enrollees: $4,448
      • In 2022, BMS made $11.8 billion in revenue from Eliquis
    • Entresto (Novartis)
      • Number of people on Medicare 2022-2023: 587,000
      • Average prescription cost for Part D enrollees: $4,915
      • In 2022, Novartis made about $4.8 billion off of Entresto
    • Stelara (Johnson & Johnson)
      • Number of people on Medicare 2022-2023: 22,000
      • Average prescription cost for Part D enrollees: $119,951
      • In 2022, J&J made $9.7 billion from Stelara
    • Xarelto (Johnson & Johnson)
      • Number of people on Medicare 2022-2023: 1,337,000
      • Average prescription cost for Part D enrollees: $4,511
      • In 2022, J&J made $4.8 billion in the US from Xarelto
    • Imbruvica (Johnson & Johnson)
      • Number of people on Medicare 2022-2023: 20,000
      • Average prescription cost for Part D enrollees: $133,178
      • In 2022, J&J made $4.56 billion from Imbruvica
    • Fiasp/Novolog (Novo Nordisk)
      • Number of people on Medicare 2022-2023: 777,000
      • Average prescription cost for Part D enrollees: $3,316
      • In 2021, Novo Nordisk made $245 million from Fiasp
  • Between June 2022 and May 2023, more than 6.4 million Medicare Part D enrollees used one or more of the above medications.



Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.