Top health law cases to watch in 2022

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People gather outside the Supreme Court building on the day of hearing arguments in the Mississippi abortion rights case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, in Washington, United States, December 1, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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(Reuters) – The next year is likely to be a busy one for health care law – especially as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hand down landmark rulings on abortion rights and death warrants. vaccination against COVID-19. Here are some highlights to watch in 2022:

SUPREME COURT COULD ELIMINATE LONG-STANDING ABORTION RIGHTS

During oral arguments in December on a Mississippi abortion law, conservative Supreme Court justices signaled their desire to dramatically curtail abortion rights in America. The state law, which prohibits abortion from 15 weeks of pregnancy, has been blocked by lower courts, but Mississippi has asked the nation’s highest court to revive it. His 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade established broad abortion rights nationwide. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh, echoing his fellow conservatives, said during argument that “the Constitution is neither pro-life nor pro-choice on the issue of abortion, but leaves the matter up to the people of States or perhaps in Congress to resolve within the democratic framework”. deal.” If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will be the achievement of a decades-long goal by anti-abortion activists, made possible by the court’s current 6-3 conservative majority, and would likely make abortion unattainable. in many Republican-led states.

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SUPREME COURT TO WEIGH IN ON BIDEN’S COVID VACCINE WARRANTS

In early January, the High Court will hear disputes over the Biden administration’s nationwide COVID-19 vaccine or testing mandate for big business and its separate vaccine requirement for healthcare workers. The workplace mandate is currently in effect nationwide, while the mandate for healthcare workers is blocked in half of the 50 US states. The decision could be important in setting limits on the federal government’s power to impose public health measures.

DRUG MANUFACTURERS FACE INSULIN PRICE DISPUTES

Drugmakers Eli Lilly and Co, Novo Nordisk Inc and Sanofi-Aventis US LLC and the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers – United Health Group’s OptumRx Inc unit, CVS Health Corp’s Caremark LLC and Express Scripts Inc – are facing allegations from drug buyers to inflate the price of insulin-based drugs, which are essential in the treatment of diabetes. The claims in 2021 have survived motions to dismiss, setting the stage for an escalating legal battle over the coming year. Insulin has come under intense scrutiny in recent years amid a growing chorus of denunciations of high drug prices. The three insulin makers were highlighted in a Congressional report earlier this month, which found that drugmakers have targeted the US market to reap outsized profits from old drugs.

FTC SEEKS TO CANCEL ILLUMINA, GRAIL FUSION

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is seeking to unwind life sciences company Illumina Inc’s $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer test detection company Grail Inc in an administrative proceeding, in which a lawsuit took place in 2021. Antitrust attorneys are watching the FTC lawsuit closely as a rare enforcement action against a “vertical” merger in which two companies are not direct competitors. This could represent an aggressive new approach to merger review under the Biden administration, particularly in healthcare.

US GOVERNMENT PURSUE OVERBILLING CLAIMS AGAINST KAISER PERMANENT

California’s Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care systems, is facing allegations from whistleblowers that it systematically overcharged Medicare. These claims gained momentum in 2021, when the federal government made the decision to intervene in six whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act. Besides being unusually large, with potential damages of $1 billion or more, the case shines a light on private Medicare Advantage plans, which critics say encourage overbilling. The government says Kaiser Permanente doctors were coerced into submitting diagnostic codes that increased patients’ so-called risk scores, used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to calculate payments to Medicare Advantage plans. .

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Brendan Pierson

Brendan Pierson advises on product liability litigation and all areas of healthcare law. He can be reached at [email protected]

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