Attorneys general file brief to fight rising cost of prescription drugs

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is joining 46 other attorneys general from across the country to fight against the rising cost of prescription drugs.

The attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court that supports the authority of states to address the rising cost of prescription drugs.

The move comes after an Arkansas law was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

In 2015, Arkansas lawmakers passed a bill that would require Pharmacy Benefit Managers to raise their reimbursement rates for drugs if the rate fell below the pharmacy’s wholesale cost.

It was challenged by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association and the Court of Appeals ruled in its favor.

“In their position as middlemen, PBMs have the power to manipulate the market as they develop and maintain prescription drug formularies, contract with pharmacies, negotiate discounts with drug manufacturers and process payments for prescription drug claims,” Attorney General Hunter said. “In order to protect the well-being of consumers, and address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, states need to and have been attempting to exercise better oversight of PBMs. State laws holding these organizations accountable are critical to improving the transparency of prescription drug marketplaces. My colleagues and I urge the members of the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse this lower court decision, which would give Arkansas and other states the ability to protect their citizens.”

In the brief that was just filed, the attorneys general argue that PBM business practices have harmed patients by contributing to rising drug prices and limiting access to certain drugs. 

The attorneys general say that nearly every state has enacted laws that regulate PBMs in some way. Last May, Oklahoma lawmakers passed the Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act.

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