North Dakota law aimed at regulating PBMs gets support

BISMARCK, N.D. — A coalition of attorneys general from nearly three dozen states and nine pharmacy associations are supporting a North Dakota law aimed at regulating pharmacy benefit managers.

The groups on Thursday announced the so-called friend-of-the-court filings on Thursday.

A trade group representing pharmacy benefit managers filed a federal lawsuit in 2017 challenging a North Dakota law that sought oversight on the managers and required disclosure of some financial information.

Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, negotiate with drug makers on behalf of health insurers, employers and unions that cover medications.

A federal appeals court later ruled North Dakota law regulating pharmacy benefit managers is preempted by federal law.

The case is headed back to the appeals court after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar Arkansas law late last year that said federal law doesn’t prevent states from regulating reimbursement rates.

North Dakota is among some three dozen states that have enacted legislation to regulate PBM reimbursement rates.

The attorneys general are from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.