Arlington, VA - FMI – The Food Industry Association ‑ filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a state’s ability to pass legislation governing anti-competitive or abusive practices by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The issue before the Court in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association considers whether a preemption provision in the federal ERISA statute permits states to enact legislation that governs practices of PBMs. FMI supports the Arkansas statute that the Supreme Court is reviewing, 2015 Arkansas Act 900 (“Act 900”), and similar laws like it. This legislation protects public access to health care through pharmacies without altering the uniform administration of ERISA plans.
FMI President and CEO, Leslie G. Sarasin, offered comment on FMI’s amicus brief in support of the state of Arkansas and its Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge:
“Food retailers play a unique and important role in providing American consumers with convenient access to a full range of pharmacy and wellness services. Supermarket pharmacies counsel customers about their medications, fill and deliver prescriptions, offer reduced-price or free generic drug programs, and administer vaccinations. They are among the most efficient and lowest cost competitors in the pharmacy market.
“Our members want to preserve convenient, affordable access to supermarket pharmacies in every community and to prevent “pharmacy deserts” for customers.
“Unfortunately, abusive, anti-competitive PBM practices put many supermarket pharmacy operations at risk and make it more likely that food retailers will be forced to close their pharmacies’ doors. Some FMI members have stopped operating pharmacies or adding pharmacies to food stores, and many others struggle to maintain the financial viability of their pharmacies. According to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks report, 81% of FMI members said they will keep their pharmacy investments the same or decrease them in the next two years due to these challenges.
“Our brief focuses on two points: First, laws like Act 900 are needed to limit how PBMs abuse their concentrated market power, which threatens patient access to pharmacies. Second, this legislation, Act 900, does not interfere with the uniform administration of ERISA plans, which is incredibly important to a variety of FMI members with employees living or working in more than one state.
“FMI supports well-crafted laws like Act 900 that carefully balance these two necessary objectives. These laws are important to preserving convenient access to health care through pharmacies for everyone.”
For a copy of FMI’s brief and additional background information, please visit www.FMI.org/Pharmacy