State Attorneys General Seek Clarity on PBM Regulations  

By Consumers for Quality Care, on July 8, 2024

State Attorneys General Seek Clarity on PBM Regulations  

A bipartisan coalition of 32 State Attorneys General are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a case concerning pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) regulation, according to Fierce Healthcare.  

At issue are two conflicting opinions handed down by two different courts. In 2019, Oklahoma passed a law that would level the playing field between independent pharmacies and PBMs by regulating PBMs’ predatory business practices. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), a trade association that represents PBMs, sued to overturn the law and won a victory last summer when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in their favor. But State AGs argue that this ruling conflicts with another case, PCMA v. Rutledge, handed down in 2020 by the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as other cases decided in 2021 by the Eighth Circuit.  

“The result is nationwide uncertainty for regulators, a corresponding increase in consumer harms, and a substantial likelihood of continued litigation on the topic in light of the deep circuit split,” the AGs wrote in a court filing. “The Court should grant review to put an end to that uncertainty and its corresponding harms.” 

The AG coalition argues that consumers should be protected “from harmful business practices” implemented by PBMs. California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that “states have the responsibility to regulate these deliberate, unfair, and deceptive pricing tactics set by PBMs that allow them to line their own pockets at the expense of consumers.” 

If left unchecked, PBMs will continue to engage in anticompetitive business practices, forcing independent pharmacies to shut their doors, limiting consumers’ access to medications, and driving up the price of prescription medications. CQC urges lawmakers and regulators to continue to scrutinize PBM activities and take action to ensure access to affordable care for all consumers.