Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

In a key legal setback for pharmacybenefit managers (PBMs), the USSupreme Court shot down a challenge toMaine's controversial law requiring disclosuresof prescription drug deals byPBMs. The Maine statute, which waschallenged by PBM lobbyists for thePharmaceutical Care ManagementAssociation (PCMA), requires PBMs todisclose rebates, conflicts of interest, anddiscounts from drug manufacturers thatPBMs are retaining as profit rather thanpassing on to plan sponsors.

Although a spokesman for PCMAdownplayed the ruling as "an expectedprocedural move," representatives of thenation's independent pharmacists predictedthat the decision would open thedoor for similar PBM disclosure requirementsnationwide.

"This is a green lightfor more state legislaturesto enact similarlaws reformingthe PBM industry," said National CommunityPharmacistsAssociation (NCPA) Executive VicePresident and Chief Executive OfficerBruce Roberts, RPh. "These sorts of ‘transparency'statutes protect both employersthat provide drug benefits for employeesand retirees, as well as consumers themselves,who pay the premiums."

State lawmakers may well need somethingto jumpstart their interest in PBMreform legislation. Although NCPA andother pharmacy groups are pushing forsuch requirements across the country, sofar lawmakers appear reluctant to imposedisclosure mandates for fear of drivingup prescription drugcosts. During 2006, thelegislatures in atleast 17 stateshave consideredand rejected PBM disclosure laws similarto the Maine statute.