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Rutledge Applauds U.S. Solicitor General’s Brief Supporting Arkansas Before U.S. Supreme Court

Says, ‘Small town pharmacies are experiencing financial hardship at the hands of the PBMs’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds the U.S. Solicitor General for recommending the U.S. Supreme Court hear Arkansas’s case concerning the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), in which Rutledge seeks to ensure communities do not lose access to frontline healthcare.

“I am pleased the U.S. Solicitor General recommends this case be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “Small town pharmacies are experiencing financial hardship at the hands of the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) requiring they operate at a loss or go out of business. I will always protect Arkansans and small businesses from unfair practices and ensure there is prescription drug pricing transparency.”

In 2015, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted Act 900 granting authority to regulate previously unregulated PBMs who verify benefits and manage financial transaction among pharmacies, healthcare payors and patients. Previous to this action, PBMs were found to provide negative reimbursement- reimbursement of pharmacies at less than a pharmacy’s cost to acquire a drug.

Rutledge’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court comes after a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision affirming an order by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller that ruled Act 900 was preempted by ERISA.

Wednesday, the U.S. Solicitor General agreed with Arkansas’s argument that the 8th Circuit should not have struck down PBM regulations and that the issues should be heard by the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court will next conference to determine whether to formally hear the case in accordance with the U.S. Solicitor General’s recommendation.

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