South Dakota Attorney General Mark Vargo joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general from across the country in an amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting Oklahoma’s laws that regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Unregulated PBMs have caused some South Dakota pharmacies to close or lose employees, which is harmful to consumers. PBMs, through their national lobbying association, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, have resisted state regulation claiming that Medicaid D and other federal laws prohibit state regulation of PBMs.
Attorney General Vargo and the bipartisan coalition seek to protect consumers by assuring that states can regulate PBMs. As Attorney General Vargo and the coalition write in their amicus brief to the Tenth Circuit, “states have an interest in preserving states’ authority to regulate companies doing business in their states (and) protecting their residents’ access to healthcare.”
“One of my primary responsibilities as Attorney General is to protect the consumers of South Dakota,” said Vargo. “Joining this suit will help in the fight to keep healthcare accessible and affordable.”
PBMs have been largely unregulated for decades. States like South Dakota, Oklahoma, and others have stepped up and paved the way for PBM regulation to protect consumers and pharmacies.