Rutledge Statement after Prevailing in Challenge to Labor Department’s Overtime Rule at the District CourtThu, Aug 31, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after District Judge Amos L. Mazant granted summary judgment in her favor, ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule is unlawful.
“Today’s win at the district court permanently blocks a D.C. political agenda from the previous administration from harming businesses and employees,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Countless business owners, nonprofits, mayors and county judges across Arkansas contacted me to express their concern and urged me to challenge this ill-advised rule. Because of today’s win, employers are not being forced to lay off hardworking Arkansans.”
Rutledge joined a coalition of 21 states in filing a lawsuit challenging the DOL rule, which was preliminarily enjoined at the coalition’s request in November 2016. If implemented, the rule would have likely forced the State of Arkansas, local cities and counties and countless small businesses and nonprofits, to substantially increase their employment costs. Many entities would have been forced to eliminate some services and fire employees because of the increased expenses.
Rutledge Marks International Overdose Awareness DayThu, Aug 31, 2017
Will use social media to remember 8 ‘Faces of Overdose’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will launch the “Faces of Overdose” social media campaign today to mark and raise awareness of International Overdose Awareness Day by remembering Arkansans lost to overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of addiction. The day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.
“Albert, Jake, Will, Chelsea, Nicholas, Joshua, K.J. and Tristan were all Arkansans and all taken from this earth too soon because of a drug overdose,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today we remember that these eight, along with many more, are not just statistics. They are sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren. Their families live each day still coping with the pain of losing their loved ones to a drug addiction. As long as I am attorney general, they will have no stronger advocate.”
Beginning at 1 p.m. today, Rutledge will post images of these eight individuals on her Twitter and Facebook accounts. Over the course of the following eight hours, the Faces of Overdose campaign will drive home the sad reality that addiction and overdose are stealing an alarming number of young Arkansans who are leaving behind supportive and loving families.
The final “Face of Overdose” will be released at 8 p.m., when an International Overdose Awareness Day “cell light” vigil will begin at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. The theme of the event, organized by the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation, is “A Time to Remember – A Time to Act.”
Others supporting the “Faces of Overdose” campaign include Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane, Arkansas Insurance Department, DEA, FBI, Parent Advocacy Group of Arkansas, Rotary Clubs of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute.
The Faces of Overdose will include the following: Albert Speed, Jake Agar, William Christian Doerhoff, Chelsea Lancaster, Nicholas Kellar, Joshua Pauley, K.J. Davis and Tristian Thomas.
Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arkansas, increasing from 287 in 2015 to 335 in 2016, according to data from the State Crime Lab. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.
Nationally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and double the death rate a decade ago. That is more than the number of deaths from car accidents in 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of drug overdose deaths – six out of 10 – involve an opioid.
In July, Rutledge announced the creation of a first-in-the-nation education initiative called “Prescription for Life,” featuring a digital platform to be offered at no cost to all high school students in the Arkansas to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. The program will be available to high school students statewide beginning next month.
The new education curriculum is part of the Attorney General’s already robust prescription drug abuse prevention initiative. During 2016, more than 330 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas and 151 pounds have been collected since the beginning of 2017. The sixth annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit, hosted by Rutledge, is scheduled for Nov. 9 in Hot Springs, with almost 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.
Rutledge Reaches Settlement with EpiPen ManufacturerWed, Aug 30, 2017
Arkansas will receive over $1.3 million
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, along with the United States and other states, has agreed to settle allegations against Mylan Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mylan Specialty L.P. Mylan allegedly and knowingly underpaid rebates owed to the Medicaid program for “EpiPen” drugs.
Under the settlement terms, Mylan will pay $465 million to the U.S. government and the individual states effected. The states will share $213 million of the settlement. Mylan has agreed to reimburse the Medicaid program $4.5 million in restitution and other recovery with 1.3 million being deposited in the Arkansas Medicaid Trust Fund.
“Attempts by pharmaceutical companies to break the law and steal money from state Medicaid programs cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “EpiPen is a lifesaving drug that many depend on, but Mylan ignored its obligations under both state and federal law. Because of this settlement, Mylan is being held accountable for its costly and harmful actions.”
Mylan, a Pennsylvania based company, misclassified EpiPen as a generic drug, despite that it had no FDA-approved equivalents and was being marketed and priced by Mylan as a brand name drug. The federal and state governments contend that between 2010 and 2016, Mylan raised the price of EpiPen by approximately 400 percent and used its misclassification of the drug to avoid paying state Medicaid program rebates.
The Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute, enacted by Congress in 1990, requires participating pharmaceutical manufacturers, such as Mylan, to sign a Rebate Agreement with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a precondition for obtaining Medicaid coverage for their drugs and to pay quarterly rebates to Medicaid programs for drugs dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. This cost containment measure ensures that the payment for outpatient drugs to state Medicaid programs are not susceptible to price gouging of drugs that are only available from a single source. Participants are required to provide information to CMS concerning their covered drugs. Brand name drugs are subjected to a higher rebate that includes any difference between the drug’s current price and the price the drug would have had if its price had increased only at the general rate of inflation. On the other hand, generic drugs originating from multiple manufacturers are subject to lower rebates that did not include an inflationary component. The responsibility is with the manufacturer to properly classify the drug so that the proper rebate can be calculated.
Specifically, this settlement resolves allegations that from July 29, 2010 to March 31, 2017, Mylan submitted false statements to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that incorrectly classified EpiPen. Mylan also did not report a Best Price to CMS for EpiPen. As a result, Mylan submitted or caused to be submitted, false statements to CMS and/or the states relating to EpiPen for Medicaid rebate purposes, and underpaid its EpiPen rebates to the State Medicaid Programs.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units Team participated in the settlement negotiations with Mylan on behalf of the states and included representatives from Attorneys General offices in California, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington and the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia.
Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for SeptemberTue, Aug 29, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for September.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. In both 2015 and 2016, office hours were held in all 75 counties assisting nearly 1,300 Arkansans.
The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents. Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
Rutledge continues her partnership that began in 2016 with local law enforcement across the State to offer prescription drug take back boxes. Law enforcement will be at all mobile offices to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Tuesday, September 5
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Bradley County Municipal Building
104 N. Myrtle St.
Warren, AR 71671
Thursday, September 7
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Searcy County Civic Center
515 Zack Road
Marshall, AR 72650
Tuesday, September 12
10:30 a.m. – noon
Paragould Community Center
3404 Linwood Drive
Paragould, AR 72450
Thursday, September 14
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Monticello Senior Citizens Center
203 Henley Drive
Monticello, AR 71655
Tuesday, September 19
10:30 a.m. – noon
Hope Senior Center
102 S. Main St.
Hope, AR 71801
Thursday, September 21
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Izard County Senior Citizen Center
30 Chapel Hill Road
Brockwell, AR 72517
Tuesday, September 26
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Ozarka College Ash Flat Location- Main Building Lobby
64 College Drive
Ash Flat, AR 72513
Thursday, September 28
10 – 11:30 a.m.
UA Cossatot Campus Cafe Lobby
183 College Drive
De Queen, AR 71832
Rutledge Commends Trump Administration for Ensuring Law Enforcement have Access to Tools and EquipmentMon, Aug 28, 2017
Executive order restores the full scope of a longstanding program for recycling surplus, lifesaving gear from the Department of Defense
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today commended the action of President Donald J. Trump for signing an executive order that restores the full scope of a critical program for recycling surplus, lifesaving gear from the Department of Defense, along with restoring the grants used to purchase this type of equipment from other sources that will directly benefit law enforcement and their mission.
The gear recycled through this program, which would otherwise be scrapped can be repurposed to help state, local and tribal law enforcement maintain public safety and reduce violent crime.
“President Trump is once again taking action to assist our local law enforcement officers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By repurposing this gear that would otherwise be scrapped and many officers would not otherwise have access to because of limited budgets, law enforcement agencies, including those across Arkansas, will be able to better protect citizens against dangerous gangs and criminals, respond to mass shooting incidents and assist in the event of devastating natural disasters.”
The President’s executive order today directs all executive branch agencies to cease implementing recommendations issued pursuant to an executive order from the previous administration and to rescind directives, guidelines and polices already implemented subject to that previous order.
The program, which the Obama administration curtailed, was created by Congress in 1990 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing the military to transfer surplus hardware and equipment to federal and state law enforcement for use in counter-drug activities. Congress expanded the program in 1997 to include all law enforcement agencies and missions. Since then, more than $5.4 billion in surplus gear has been transferred to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Much of the equipment provided through the program is defensive in nature, such as armored vehicles and military-style clothing, and have been used to protect those responding to terrorist attacks like those in San Bernardino and Orlando.
Rutledge: President’s Travel Suspension Executive Order is LawfulThu, Aug 24, 2017
Files amicus brief with U.S. Supreme Court supporting the executive order
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Trump administration’s temporary travel suspension, which was blocked by two lower courts before the Supreme Court allowed key elements of the executive order to go forward in June.
Rutledge filed a brief with the Court in early June, urging the justices to stay the injunctions and take the case.
“The Court must clarify that the President lawfully exercised his authority to temporarily suspend the entry of non-citizens into this country to keep Americans safe,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The executive branch was given this authority by Congress, and it is unfortunate that activist judges in lower courts have tried improperly to limit the President’s power.”
Congress has specifically granted the President broad authority under 8 U.S. Code § 1182, which says, “whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
Rutledge and her colleagues note that the injunctions from the lower courts are contrary to the law, writing, “These injunctions deny the federal government – under a statutory regime crafted by the people’s representatives in Congress – the latitude necessary to make national security, foreign affairs and immigration policy judgments inherent in this country’s nature as a sovereign. The Court should reverse.”
Arkansas is joined in the amicus brief by Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, along with Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi.