We recently talked about drug company Merck suing the federal government because they don’t want to lower the cost of their drugs. That lawsuit has now expanded, with groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and Big Pharma front groups joining in to keep prices high for American consumers. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: We recently talked about a drug company, Merck, suing the federal government because they don’t want to lower the cost of their drugs. That lawsuit’s now expanded with groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and Big Pharma in front of groups joining in to keep prices high for American consumers. This story makes you want to put your finger down your throat and look for a gag reflex. Pick it up would you.

Farron Cousins: You know, we go from talking about actual CEOs that are doing the responsible thing and now we’re talking about CEOs that are just nothing but the epitome of greed. The worst of the worst that humankind has to offer. Because what these companies are doing, you know, we talked about Merck previously, US Chamber joins in, of course, the front group PhRMA is joined in. You’ve got these other groups masquerading as medical groups, but it’s actually just pharma executives sitting on boards of the gastroenterological society. No, you’re a pharma front group. And they’ve all filed briefs and lawsuits saying that the administration’s plan to negotiate Medicare prices violates our freedom of speech. And our freedom of speech says we need to screw over American consumers.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Oh, we have the right to. If we wanna say, if we wanna price gouge, if we want to take a drug and raise it by 4000%, you and I have both seen those cases, 4000%. Then we ought to be able to do it because it’s our First Amendment right to do it. It’s also our Fifth Amendment right. I read their response. It is like a bunch of, I swear to God, high school sophomores wrote their response. And I love it because it’s costing, you know, it’s costing Merck and it’s costing the US Chamber of Commerce, again, US Chamber of Commerce is behind this. They don’t want people that, they don’t want people that are elderly or people who are disabled to be in a position where they can actually afford the drug. Let me give you a caveat on this. There was an attempt, we did a story on this several weeks ago, there was an attempt to actually lower the age of Medicare folks that are able to get Medicare. You know who defeated that? Pelosi.

Farron Cousins: Oh yeah. Yeah, that’s right.

Mike Papantonio: Pelosi. Pelosi defeated this.

Farron Cousins: I forgot about that.

Mike Papantonio: Which opened the door because, you see the pharmaceutical companies, they want insurance companies to pay because they can charge more. This is a perfect example. So you have the US Chamber of Commerce, Merck, Bristol Myers all gone in and saying, you’ve violated our constitutional right. If the, and they filed this in three separate courts, because they want a difference in opinion to take it to the Supreme Court. It’s like a high school sophomore idiot wrote their response. It’s indefensible.

Farron Cousins: It’s really funny because, you know, you brought up the fact that they’re using the Fifth Amendment argument. When Merck originally filed it, the Fifth Amendment wasn’t there. They only tried to argue the First Amendment. We sat here talking about how stupid it was.

Mike Papantonio: That’s right.

Farron Cousins: So now the other groups say, okay, well what if we also say Fifth Amendment.

Mike Papantonio: Let’s try this.

Farron Cousins: So they know how bad their arguments are and that’s why a lot of these groups have swooped in to save them.

Mike Papantonio: They’re paying these law firms tons of millions of dollars. And these law firms, sure. We’ll take your money. You want a 17th amendment in there too? Let’s throw it in. God, it’s disgusting. Farron, thanks for joining me.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week. But all these segments are gonna be available throughout the next week. And make sure you follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio, and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you the stories that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers won’t let ’em or their political involvement, their political connections don’t allow for it because it’s become so tribal. If it’s Republican, they have to defend Republican. If it’s Democrat, they have to defend Democrat. We’ll see you next time.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.