Yost Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Defending States’ Rights to Regulate Rising Cost of Prescription Drugs



March 3, 2020

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today joined a bipartisan coalition of 46 attorneys general supporting states’ rights to regulate and address the rising cost of prescription drugs.

“Every state regulates its insurance markets – no one would say federal law pre-empts that action. How can a key player in these markets get a pass?” Yost said. “Ohio will not give up its duty and right to protect its citizens to some federal bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.”

In an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, the attorneys general support Arkansas’ position in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management that regulation of the prescription drug market, including pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), is a critical tool for states to protect residents and address the access and affordability of prescription drugs. They contend that state laws regulating pharmacy benefit managers are not restricted by federal law.

Regulation is critical to the states’ ability to improve the transparency of prescription drug marketplaces and to protect consumers’ access to affordable prescription drugs, especially those in under-served, rural and isolated communities. The attorneys general point out that the regulation of pharmacy benefit managers promotes healthcare access and affordability for residents – taking away a state’s ability to regulate would create confusion and uncertainty in the market and harm patients.

Yost also outlined a four-step plan this past year to contain the amount that Ohio taxpayers are billed for prescription drugs purchased for state employees, calling for legislative action. He recommended “a solution based on market principles, not the creation of another government bureaucracy,” identifying four objectives that should be met:

  • State drug purchases should go through a master PBM contract that is administered through a single point of contact.
  • The Ohio Auditor of State should have unrestricted authority to review all PBM drug contracts, purchases and payments.
  • PBMs must be fiduciaries.
  • Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) on drug pricing with the state must be prohibited.

In today’s brief, Ohio joins the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A copy of the brief is available here.

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