A federal court has given a thumbsupto a controversial Maine law requiringpharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)in that state to report payments fromdrug manufacturers seeking to gainpreference for their products, and to discloseconflicts of interest in establishingformularies. The court's ruling, whichheld that Maine's Unfair PrescriptionDrug Practices Act does not infringe onfederal pension law or violate the civilrights of PBMs, increases the prospectsfor passage of similar disclosure laws ina number of other states.
The National Community PharmacistsAssociation (NCPA), which hasbeen advocating enactment of suchPBM regulations by state legislatures,hailed the decision upholding theMaine law as a positive developmentfor pharmacists and consumers. "Forfar too long, PBMs have been permittedto operate behind a veil of secrecy-without any regulation-puttingpatients and payers at a great disadvantage,"said NCPA Executive VicePresident Bruce Roberts. "We hope thatMaine's law, and the ruling thatupholds it, will serve as an example forthe rest of the nation."
The ruling upheld by the federaljudge concluded that the PBM industryintroduce a "layer of fog to the marketthat prevents benefits managers fromfully understanding how best to minimizetheir net prescription drug costs."
Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.