Pay attention to the stories behind the headlines. In June 2023, this broke:

Breaking News headline from the New York Times: The pharmaceutical company Merck sued the government, claiming a law that lets Medicare negotiate prices with drug makers is unconstitutional.

 In related news, Merck announces publicly that they’ve bought off some Supreme Court Justices.*

*apparently, because WTF else could this mean?


I figure that next, Merck will claim that the USPTO (that protects its I.P. rights for years) is also unconstitutional because it wasn’t listed in Article VIII.**

**There are only seven Articles, but this makes as much sense as their first charge does.


Let’s fact-check a little more, shall we?

nly some drugs will be subject to negotiation with Medicare and only after they have been on the market without competition for years. But in public remarks, pharmaceutical executives have cast the Medicare-negotiation program as a dire threat to new cures. Several said they were reassessing their drug development plans.

The 5th Amendment doesn’t protect profiteering, so that argument is dead. The federal government declared that a fair price would be set (that constitutional “just compensation” they mentioned). Merck is mad because they want to rake in outrageous profits for MORE years than they’re already allowed to.


Also, Merck is literally exercising rights under the First Amendment to claim that they can’t do just that.

Petition for a redress of grievances? Explicitly allowed.

Setting laws to forbid withholding life-saving meds because you can’t charge whatever you want FOREVER? Not related.


Moreover, Merck claims they’re being “coerced” to sign, but the entire point of eminent domain is for the Government to take private property for a project that will benefit the public. Withholding vital medicine to negotiate for a higher “fair value” can harm or kill people.

If a company wants to be treated like a person, then charge the Merck executives and board members with willful endangerment, or worse! That is, unless they take their fair-value agreement and continue to serve the public good with only modest profits instead of rapacious ones.


According to the federal government’s guidance about its plans for enacting the program, the process will allow drugmakers to first make a counteroffer on pricing and then later reject Medicare’s final offer and walk away without a deal if they are not happy, subject to a tax.

In the final consideration, Merck is bluffing anyway. They have the right to avoid selling to Medicare. Their profits will drop, and they may have to pay a tax for refusing, but they can continue to demand outrageous profits from private insurance, just not from their biggest client.


Merck said in a statement on Tuesday that the law “unlawfully impairs our core purpose of engaging in innovative research that saves and improves lives.” The company generated $14.5 billion in profit last year.

Profit, not revenue. $14.5 billion was just the part that was left over after they paid their bills, their employees, and everything else. I think we all know what their “core purpose” REALLY is.


Thanks to @RebeccaDRobbins at The New York Times for the excellent reporting that inspired my rant on this outrageous, entitled bluster by Merck!


Further reading: the original NY Times story, published June 6, 2023: “Merck Sues Over Law Empowering Medicare to Negotiate With Drugmakers”

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