The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has formally withdrawn a policy implemented under the Trump administration that would have required a review of all regulations issued by HHS and its sub-agencies.

HHS on Thursday announced in a final rule that it would withdraw the entire “Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely,” more commonly known as the SUNSET final rule. The rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Friday.

The controversial rule would have added automatic expiration dates to more than 18,000 regulations issued by HHS and its sub-agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration starting in five years unless the agency conducts an intensive review of each regulation. 

The rule never took effect, however. The Trump administration published the rule in the Federal Register the day before President Biden’s inauguration and it was originally scheduled to take effect in March 2021. After several organizations filed a lawsuit to overturn it, HHS delayed implementation for a year. After announcing it wanted to repeal the rule in an October 2021 proposal, it later postponed the start date to this coming September.

HHS said that had the rule been implemented, it would have significantly altered the operations of HHS and led to significant negative repercussions. The SUNSET final rule was expansive in scope and impact, faced very little support from stakeholders, and lacked a public health rationale for expedited rulemaking, HHS said in Thursday’s final rule. The Trump administration didn’t follow routine internal review procedures when it proposed and then published the final rule in less than three months.

“Because the implementation of the SUNSET final rule would have required a significant expenditure of resources, the Department would have been forced to make resource allocation decisions that would have impeded the Department’s routine operations and hampered its ability to carry out other key priorities and goals,” HHS said.