Pharmacist Groups Laud Supreme Court PBM Case Hearing

January 16, 2020

The NACDS and NCPA praised the United States Supreme Court's decision to hear a case involving states’ regulation of pharmacy benefit managers.

The NACDS and NCPA praised the United States Supreme Court's decision to hear a case involving states’ regulation of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

SCOTUS will review the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision on Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which halted Arkansas’ law ensuring that pharmacy reimbursement rates cover pharmacies’ costs of purchasing drugs, NACDS said in a statement.1

“The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the PBM lobby. The Eighth Circuit ruled that a federal law governing the administration of employee benefits preempts the state from restricting controversial business practices that are destroying local pharmacies,” NCPA said in a statement.2

However, SCOTUS has an opportunity to reverse that decision, NACDS and NCPA both noted.

“Patients and pharmacies across the nation can find hope in the US Supreme Court’s decision to take this important case,” said NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson.1 “The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision should be reversed. That decision would be an important step for fair reimbursement for pharmacies and for the patients who rely on the accessibility of pharmacies for essential health and wellness services.”

“We were very encouraged when the US Solicitor General filed a brief with the Court that disagreed with the Eighth Circuit,” said Mustafa Hersi, vice president and general counsel for NCPA. “And we believe the Court will recognize that states have the right and the obligation to protect their citizens and local businesses from runaway corporate middlemen.”

NCPA and the Arkansas Pharmacists Association filed a brief supporting the state before the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and says it will file a similar brief before the US Supreme Court.

"This is an important moment for community pharmacies," said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, CEO of NCPA.2 ”There's strong bipartisan agreement in the states that PBM behavior is out of control. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has turned over the management of prescription drugs to PBMs and the US has the highest drug costs in the world. We don't think that is coincidence.”