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Coalition of 32 state AGs stand with Oklahoma on regulating pharmacy benefit managers

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A bipartisan 32-state coalition is requesting that the United States Supreme Court review a decision limiting Oklahoma’s authority to regulate abusive pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

In an amicus brief, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares and the coalition ask the Court to grant Oklahoma’s request to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which held that federal laws preempt Oklahoma laws that regulate PBMs.

The coalition wrote in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court that “states have a compelling interest in preserving their traditional authority to protect their residents’ access to healthcare and to regulate business practices in their states. To advance these interests, all states regulate [PBMs] to some degree.” The broad approach of the Tenth Circuit to federal preemption, however, would “severely and unduly impede states’ abilities to protect their residents and regulate businesses.”

“PBMs have long operated as middlemen in the prescription pharmaceutical industry, profiting from fees and reimbursement disparities. Their self-serving protections stifle competition, obscure transparency, and restrict access to potentially life-saving medications. PBMs have not served the best interests of consumers, and it is essential the Court affirms that all States can regulate PBMs,” Miyares said.

PBMs have been largely unregulated for decades. In the absence of federal regulation, states like Virginia have stepped up to protect consumers and pharmacies, but have continued to face challenges from the PBM industry. Earlier this year, 39 attorneys general, including Miyares, urged Congress to take further actions to regulate PBMs at the federal level.

The coalition includes attorneys general from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.