December 11, 2020

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Pharmacists, Patients

Decision in Rutledge v. PCMA Validates State Efforts to Rein in PBMs

Portland, OR – The Supreme Court of the United States yesterday issued its landmark decision in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), ruling in favor of an Arkansas law to prevent abusive PBM payment practices.

The unanimous decision empowers states to take action to hold pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) accountable for their role in managing drug benefits that profit at the expense of local pharmacists, pharmacies and the patients who depend on them.

“This ruling removes a significant barrier in providing patients with access to their pharmacy of choice and increased price transparency” said Kiyomi Lehman, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, Board President of the Oregon State Pharmacy Association. “This is a big win for our pharmacies, pharmacists, and patients. But, there’s much more work to do to strengthen PBM regulations to benefit patients in the future.”

The Arkansas law upheld by the Supreme court today prohibits PBMs from reimbursing local pharmacies at a lower rate than what the pharmacies pay to fill prescriptions. PBMs often profit by reimbursing pharmacies at less than a pharmacy’s cost to acquire a drug. This is just one of the many ways the PBM system puts pharmacies and patients at a disadvantage.

“Today is a historic day for the millions of men and women who play a critical role in ensuring public health. As we all navigate an ever-changing COVID-19 world, it’s critical that we let pharmacists and pharmacies do what they do best: serve patients and communities,” said Brian Mayo, Executive Director at the Oregon State Pharmacy Association.

To learn more about our efforts to protect pharmacists and patients, visit