Independent Pharmacy Lawsuit Continues

Independent Pharmacy Lawsuit Continues

A federal judge in Little Rock recently ruled that a lawsuit involving about 100 independent pharmacies against pharmacy benefit managers can move forward. 

If you recall, back in late 2019, a Lonoke pharmacy filed a class-action lawsuit against several of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the country, saying it won’t be able to survive because the drug reimbursement rates it receives from the PBMs are often below its cost.

Since then, some defendants have been dismissed, while other defendants had their cases moved to arbitration. 

Six defendants remained in the case, including four entities related to Express Scripts of St. Louis; OptumRx Inc. of Irvine, California; and OptumRx Pharmacy Inc. of Irvine, California.    

The remaining defendants filed a motion asking that the case be dismissed. Express Scripts defendants also asked that if their cases weren’t dismissed, they should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri because of a contractual agreement.    

U.S. District Court Judge James M. Moody Jr. ruled on Nov. 2 that the cases against Express Scripts will be transferred to federal court in Missouri, and the motion to dismiss will be decided there. 

Moody also ruled to dismiss OptumRx Pharmacy from the suit. And while he dismissed some of the allegations against OptumRx Inc., Moody kept others, allowing the case to move forward. 

“Our over 100 family pharmacy clients are happy with the Court’s decision and very much looking forward to prosecuting their claims against PBM OptumRx,” attorney Scott Poynter of the Poynter Law Group of Little Rock, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said via email to Whispers. “We hope other Arkansas independent pharmacies will join us in our fight to end PBM abuses in the State of Arkansas.” 

An attorney for OptumRx didn’t immediately return a call for comment.