LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has demanded information from CVS Caremark, a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM), after reviewing complaints of plummeting medication reimbursement rates paid to local pharmacies.
“The change in reimbursement rates by the Pharmacy Benefit Managers has hurt Arkansans in every community across the state,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Local pharmacists are critical members of Arkansas’s communities. Due to these changes, pharmacists are facing tough decisions because the reimbursements do not cover the actual cost of the medications. When public health is threatened, all Arkansans suffer.”
PBMs, like CVS Caremark, are the go-between for health insurance companies and pharmacies and dictate reimbursement amounts on each prescription. Earlier this year, the Attorney General began reviewing reports that CVS Caremark reduced its reimbursement rate for pharmacies in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace. In roughly 20 percent of prescription fills, prescription reimbursement rates reportedly dropped lower than purchase costs. Local pharmacists are forced to cover the additional costs of these rate changes, which impacts their bottom line and could lead to these businesses closing their doors. Investigators and attorneys have requested information pertinent to establishing if the reimbursement rate change triggers provisions of Arkansas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The Attorney General will continue to aggressively investigate the PBMs responsible and requests that any citizen harmed by these rate changes contact the office.