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Rutledge Files PBM Reply Brief with U.S. Supreme Court

Says, ‘it’s time for states to have the tools they need to ensure that prescription drug prices are affordable’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today filed a reply brief with the United States Supreme Court in Arkansas’s pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) case, Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. In this case, Rutledge seeks to protect rural Arkansas’s small businesses and save community pharmacies from abusive PBM payment practices. The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in late-April but arguments were postponed until the fall as a result of COVID-19.

“Our case to protect Arkansans and local pharmacies has such broad-based support that we are looking forward to the opportunity to present our case before the highest Court,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In the midst of the economic hardship caused by the pandemic, it’s time for states to have the tools they need to ensure that prescription drug prices are affordable while protecting their frontline healthcare providers.”

In 2015, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted Act 900 to regulate PBM—the drug middlemen that reimburse pharmacists for prescription drugs. Before Act 900’s enactment, PBMs regularly paid pharmacies less than it costs pharmacies to acquire generic drugs while pocketing a hefty profit. That abusive market practice had caused more than 16 percent of rural pharmacies nationwide to close in recent years.

Rutledge’s petition was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court January 2019. Rutledge’s briefs have been supported by the U.S. Solicitor General and a bipartisan, 45-state coalition led by California.

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