The U.S. Supreme Court will review the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision that put the brakes on Arkansas’ law that would ensure that pharmacy reimbursement rates cover pharmacies’ costs of purchasing drugs. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) expressed appreciation for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case, which provides another chance for Arkansas and other states to help make reimbursement to pharmacies more fair, and to benefit patients.

“Patients and pharmacies across the nation can find hope in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take this important case,” said NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision should be reversed. That decision would be an important step for fair reimbursement for pharmacies and for the patients who rely on the accessibility of pharmacies for essential health and wellness services.”

The case that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider is Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.

The docket of the U.S. Supreme Court describes the case this way:

“Thirty-six states have enacted legislation to curb abusive prescription drug reimbursement practices by claims-processing middlemen-known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)-who make money on the spread between the rates at which they reimburse pharmacies and the drug prices they charge health plans. In response, Respondent Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), a PBM trade association, has launched a barrage of litigation across the country arguing that state regulations of PBMs generally, and state drug-reimbursement regulations specifically, are categorically preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Disregarding this Court’s ERISA precedent (and contrary to the First Circuit’s conclusion that PBM regulations are categorically not preempted by ERISA), the Eighth Circuit embraced that argument.

“The question presented here is: Whether the Eighth Circuit erred in holding that Arkansas’s statue regulating PBMs’ drug-reimbursement rates, which is similar to laws enacted by a substantial majority of states, is preempted by ERISA, in contravention of this Court’s precedent that ERISA does not preempt rate regulation.”

More information about NACDS’ related public policy positions can be found on the NACDS Access Agenda microsite.