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Published on Thursday, December 10, 2020

American Pharmacists Association Hails Supreme Court Ruling on Pharmacy Benefit Managers

CONTACT: Frank Fortin
202.223.7189; ffortin@aphanet.org

The American Pharmacists Association today hailed the unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the right of Arkansas to regulate pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies.

“This is a great day for pharmacists and their patients,” said Scott J. Knoer, executive vice president and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association. “For years, PBMs have threatened the sacrosanct relationship between pharmacists and their patients and have never been forced to answer to any authority for their actions. This opinion redresses that imbalance and returns the power to protect the interests of patients to the states and other local authorities, where it belongs.”

The court ruled 8-0 that an Arkansas law, which prohibits PBMs from reimbursing pharmacies at a lower rate than what the pharmacies pay to fill prescriptions, is valid and not preempted by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). The opinion was written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, with Justice Thomas providing a concurring opinion. Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not vote because she was not yet seated as an associate justice when the oral arguments were heard in early October.

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