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News & Press: National

NCPA, APA File Brief in Federal Appeals Court in PBMs' Case Against AR Drug Pricing Transparency Law

Friday, June 23, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shannon Glaittli
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 22, 2017)  The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the Arkansas Pharmacists Association (APA) have filed an amici curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in support of the state of Arkansas and against a challenge by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) to Act 900, passed by the Arkansas General Assembly in 2015. The ongoing legal battle has prevented Arkansas from implementing a more transparent system under which pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) determine generic prescription drug reimbursements to pharmacies. In response, NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement: 
"The Arkansas legislature approved Act 900 because it recognized that PBMs' secretive approach to determining generic prescription drug reimbursement was unfair to pharmacies and patients. Pharmacies deserve to know what their reimbursement will be for a medication, and that they can at least break-even on what they dispense. That's the kind of essential transparency Act 900 enacted. PCMA seems less interested in fairness and more interested in filling PBM corporations' pockets. They continue to spout specious arguments that would undermine legislators' intent.
"It's important to note that PCMA's apparent legal strategy seems to go beyond the state of Arkansas. They clearly fear that if this new law is allowed to stand, the momentum for PBM reform will get a significant boost. Other states could soon follow with similar legislation.
"PCMA's ongoing contention that Act 900 is pre-empted by the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is flawed. We believe they have not cleared the high bar that allows federal law to override state laws. In our filing we argue for the Court of Appeals to 'affirm the portion of the District Court's judgment finding no pre-emption under the MMA, reverse the portion of the judgment finding pre-emption under ERISA, and remand with directions for the District Court to enter judgment in favor of the Attorney General on all claims.' In other words, allow the law to stand as originally intended by the elected officials in Arkansas."

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