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Rutledge Praises White House’s Recommendation on PBMs

Rutledge Praises White House’s Recommendation on PBMs

Tue, Feb 13, 2018

Says, ‘prescription reimbursement rates dropped lower than pharmacy purchase costs’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge commends the White House’s Reforming Biopharmaceutical Pricing at Home and Abroad report, which calls for decreasing the concentration of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). Three PBMs make up 85 percent of the current market, meaning they have significant market power against manufacturers, health plans and covered consumers.

“I am pleased to see the White House taking an interest in a practice that negatively impacts Arkansans ,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “PBMs have decreased their reimbursement rate for pharmacies in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, placing a new strain on these integral local businesses. I have started my investigation into CVS Caremark, but intend to demand information from any PBM harming Arkansans.”

Local pharmacists are being forced to cover the additional costs of the rate changes, which impacts their bottom line and could lead to these businesses closing their doors.

The Attorney General will continue to aggressively investigate the PBMs responsible and requests that any citizen harmed by these rate changes contact the office.

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Rutledge Releases Statement on State of the State

Rutledge Releases Statement on State of the State

Mon, Feb 12, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the below statement following Governor Asa Hutchinson’s State of the State address.

“I was pleased to hear Governor Hutchinson address issues such as the ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic, reimbursement rates for local pharmacies and burdensome business regulations which have hurt our small businesses, farmers and ranchers across the Natural State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am confident that we can work together to attack these issues and make Arkansas stronger than ever.”

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Rutledge Honored with Sandra Wilson Cherry Award

Rutledge Honored with Sandra Wilson Cherry Award

Fri, Feb 9, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after receiving the 2018 Sandra Wilson Cherry Award presented by the Gaines House.

“It is an honor to receive this important award and to be recognized as a role model for women across Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Sandra Wilson Cherry dedicated her life to public service and I will continue to embrace her legacy by serving the people of our great state. As Arkansas’s first elected female Attorney General, I strive to empower women by providing resources such as Laura’s Card and Break the Cycle training. These programs, alongside the valuable work of the Gaines House, benefit every Arkansan and I am proud to help bring a voice to those who would otherwise live in silence.”

In 2016, Rutledge began providing Laura’s Card to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Laura’s Card includes 24-hour crisis line phone numbers, a list of victim’s rights and information about resources available. More than 100,000 Laura’s Cards, available in English and Spanish, have been distributed to Arkansas law enforcement agencies and service providers. Additionally, LaurasCard.ar.gov was created with links to numerous resources available for victims of abuse. Rutledge also began offering Break the Cycle training across Arkansas, which focuses on youth dating abuse prevention and intervention and helps educators recognize and discuss the warning signs of dating violence. Break the Cycle is a leading national nonprofit organization providing comprehensive dating abuse prevention programs.

The Sandra Wilson Cherry Award is presented by the Gaines House. For more than fifty years, the Gaines House has enabled hundreds of homeless women with mental illness to successfully complete a psychiatric rehabilitation process and become productive members of our community. The Gaines House is unique in Arkansas and offers a supervised residential environment preparing homeless women with mental illness to strive for independence.

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Rutledge to Investigate Reimbursement Rates from CVS Caremark

Rutledge to Investigate Reimbursement Rates from CVS Caremark

Thu, Feb 8, 2018

Says, ‘reimbursements to local pharmacists do not cover the actual cost of the medication’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has demanded information from CVS Caremark, a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), after reviewing complaints of plummeting medication reimbursement rates paid to local pharmacies.

“The change in reimbursement rates by the Pharmacy Benefit Managers has hurt Arkansans in every community across the state,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Local pharmacists are critical members of Arkansas’s communities. Due to these changes, pharmacists are facing tough decisions because the reimbursements do not cover the actual cost of the medications. When public health is threatened, all Arkansans suffer.”

PBMs, like CVS Caremark, are the go-between for health insurance companies and pharmacies and dictate reimbursement amounts on each prescription. Earlier this year, the Attorney General began reviewing reports that CVS Caremark reduced its reimbursement rate for pharmacies in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace. In roughly 20 percent of prescription fills, prescription reimbursement rates reportedly dropped lower than purchase costs. Local pharmacists are forced to cover the additional costs of these rate changes, which impacts their bottom line and could lead to these businesses closing their doors. Investigators and attorneys have requested information pertinent to establishing if the reimbursement rate change triggers provisions of Arkansas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The Attorney General will continue to aggressively investigate the PBMs responsible and requests that any citizen harmed by these rate changes contact the office.

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Rutledge Urges Kentucky Supreme Court to Protect Freedom of Speech

Rutledge Urges Kentucky Supreme Court to Protect Freedom of Speech

Wed, Feb 7, 2018

Leads a 10-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands On Originals, Inc.

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a 10-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Kentucky urging the court to protect their citizens’ freedom of speech. The attorneys general believe this case has national implications and that similar cases may arise in their states.

“Both sides in this case are in agreement that printing of the t-shirts undoubtedly qualifies as speech under the First Amendment,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This country has a rich history of protecting freedom of speech, as well as the free exercise of religion. Along with my colleagues, I am urging the Supreme Court of Kentucky to overturn the order from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, which threatens First Amendment rights everywhere.”

This case involves a t-shirt printing company, Hands On Originals, that declined to print t-shirts supporting the Lexington Pride Festival. The company is being sued by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission for refusing to disseminate a message with which it disagreed.

Hands On Originals and its owners do not object to serving customers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, but object to producing items that promote acts that are contrary to their deeply held beliefs. The business offered to refer the organization to another company that would have printed the t-shirts for the pride festival.

In the brief, the attorneys general state: “It is one thing to compel a business to serve people on an equal basis without regard to sexual orientation; it is quite another thing to compel a person to print t-shirts that communicate a message that he or she believes to be profoundly wrong.”

Arkansas is joined in filing by attorneys general from Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Pulaski County Man for Crimes Involving Children

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Pulaski County Man for Crimes Involving Children

Mon, Feb 5, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of Anthony Lee Ridenour of Little Rock on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.

Ridenour, 56, was arrested by the Attorney General’s office Cyber Crimes Unit and the Little Rock Police Department. He was released from the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility on $15,000 bond.

Special agents in the Attorney General’s office seized multiple laptops and external storage devices from the residence. The case is being turned over to Sixth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

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