December 13, 2020 – SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra made a statement on Thursday regarding the unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court in Rutledge v Pharmaceutical Care Management Association that upholds the right of states to regulate and address rising prescription drug costs. In March, the attorney general led a bipartisan coalition of 46 attorneys general to file an amicus letter with the Supreme Court in support of the state of Arkansas that federal law does not prevent states from regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). In the letter, the coalition also argued that regulating the market for prescription drugs, including PBMs, is a critical tool that states are using to protect residents and address the access and affordability of prescription drugs. The Court agreed that federal law does not preclude these widespread and important state regulations.
“States are at the forefront of the fight to keep prescription drug prices down and make them more accessible to those who rely on them.” said Attorney General Becerra. “We’re delighted that the Supreme Court recognized today that states need to be able to regulate PBMs, the pharmaceutical middlemen who manipulate drug prices and access. Today’s decision will ensure that states can improve the transparency of the prescription drug market and protect access to affordable drugs. “
PBMs act as intermediaries between pharmacies, drug manufacturers, health insurance plans, and consumers. You will develop and maintain prescription drug forms, conclude contracts with pharmacies, negotiate discounts with drug manufacturers, and process and pay for prescription drug claims. In this position, they have exercised their market power in a way that harms consumers.
In filing the Amicus Letter in March, Attorney General Becerra was assisted by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, United States . Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota , Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
You can find a copy of the decision here.
Source: CA. DOJ