The nonprofit Community Health Centers of Arkansas has filed a motion in federal court asking to intervene in a lawsuit the state faces over a discount prescription drug law.
The lawsuit filed by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America seeks to block Act 1103 of 2021, which requires drug makers to provide lower prices on prescription drugs at community-based pharmacies under the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program.
The law was passed after drug makers placed multiple conditions the 340B program that made it harder for the uninsured or underinsured to obtain medication, CHCA said in a news release. Some patients were forced to use pharmacies farther from their homes, the nonprofit said, while others had to change their prescription.
But the pharmaceutical lobbying group has alleged that the state law conflicts with regulations in the federal program and is therefore illegal. The suit names Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the commissioner of the state Insurance Department, which enforces the program, as defendants.
CHCA said that case law makes it clear that states can help ensure that programs approved by Congress are followed.
The group filed a motion to intervene on March 28 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Piggott Community Hospital, which relies on community pharmacies to serve their patients, joined the request.
"Intervention in the case will allow parties directly affected by the 340B restrictions, such as CHCA, to more fully present their points to the court," the release says.
There are 12 community health centers in Arkansas serving more than 240,000 people a year at more than 160 sites.
CHCA is being represented by Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC of Washington, D.C. The nonprofit's local counsel is Steel Wright Gray PLLC of Little Rock.