For plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461 (ERISA), the doctrine of federal ERISA preemption over state statutes, regulations or administrative schemes has been a central subject of litigation since the inception of the statute. In December 2020, the US Supreme Court issued a decision on the subject in Rutledge v. Pharm. Care Mgmt. Ass’n, 208 L. Ed. 2d 327 (2020).
In the short, unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court in Rutledge held that ERISA did not preempt an Arkansas statute that regulates pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBM) drug reimbursement rates. Arkansas passed Act 900 in 2015 to regulate PBM reimbursement rates for pharmacies, which, in effect, established a reimbursement floor that requires PBMs to reimburse pharmacies at a rate that reflects the pharmacy’s acquisition cost for the drug in question.