With new lawsuit, Boehringer Ingelheim becomes latest drugmaker to take aim at IRA

As litigation challenging the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) piles up, Boehringer Ingelheim has become the latest drugmaker to take aim at the new law.

In a 62-page lawsuit, Boehringer laid out several arguments about the ways it believes the IRA's Medicare pricing negotiations will step on its “constitutional and statutory rights.” Together, these violations of the U.S. Constitution illustrate the “urgent need” for judicial intervention, the company’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

It’s likely that Boehringer and Eli Lilly’s blockbuster diabetes med Jardiance will make the cut of drugs up for the first round of Medicare pricing negotiations. This makes Boehringer's lawsuit appropriate at this time, the company argued in the filing.

In the suit, Boehringer is challenging the fees imposed if it refuses to negotiate Jardiance's price. These fees could total more than $500 million per week, according to the company.

The only way to escape this “prohibitive penalty” is to pull out of the Medicare and Medicaid program altogether, which is “not a real alternative,” the company argued in its lawsuit.

That argument forms the basis of an ongoing legal battle between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the federal government. The chamber has called the negotiations an “unprecedented, one-sided regime,” while the Department of Justice recently responded that the law offers companies a chance to engage in the Medicare negotiations or take their business elsewhere.

As for Boehringer, its constitutional complaints are shared by Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Astellas and top industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. All of those organizations have blasted the IRA in their own lawsuits.