What You Need to Know about U.S. Supreme Court Rutledge vs PCMA | PBM Reform Podcast Series


Full Transcript

July 21, 2021

Georgia House of Representatives Earl L. “Buddy” Carter joins CEO of RxSafe Bill Holmes to summarize The Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) Rutledge v. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) hearing. The initial April hearing date had been postponed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (COVID-19).

Rutledge v. PCMA

Rutledge v. PCMA revolves around whether states have the right to regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has petitioned the court to overturn the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth District’s earlier decision to maintain Arkansas’ statute regulating PBMs’ drug reimbursement rates. In a legal brief filed in February 2020, however, Rutledge argues the statute is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

Regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs)

At least 4 pharmacy groups, The American Pharmacists Association, The Arkansas Pharmacist Association, The National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, and the National Community Pharmacists Association have publicly expressed their support for states’ rights to regulate PBMs. According to an earlier report, these 4 groups have jointly argued that unregulated PBM business practices limit access to pharmacists' care and prevent the optimal use of medications.


“Rutledge v. PCMA revolves around whether states have the right to regulate pharmacy benefit managers."


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AMCP Amicus Brief

In April 2020, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) filed an amicus brief in support of the Eighth District’s decision. The brief argues that ruling in favor of Rutledge will drive up health care costs, and also will have a big effect on patients too by limiting their ability to access affordable medications, hindering health outcomes.

The AMCP brief also argues that ruling in favor of Rutledge can lead to issues at the administrative level, and can lead to varying and possibly contradictory state laws as well.4

Supreme Court to hear Rutledge v. PCMA Oct. 6

The US Supreme Court has released its October 2020 oral argument calendar, with Rutledge v. PCMA now scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, Oct. 6. The case was originally scheduled to be argued in April but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rutledge v. PCMA is a landmark case on whether states can adopt meaningful regulations on pharmacy benefit managers.

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