Transparency Reforms for Pharmacy Benefit Managers Continue, Despite Court Ruling

Alexandria, VA - July 15, 2010

recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia leaves in place some pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) transparency requirements, as enacted by the District of Columbia city council, while overturning certain provisions that served to regulate the activities of those PBMs participating in plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. In response to the ruling, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) President and Arlington, Texas pharmacy owner Joseph H. Harmison, PD, issued the following statement:

"It's unfortunate that this court did not require PBMs to assume a fiduciary duty relative to their benefit plan clients. Millions of Americans already benefit from the fiduciary duty that their financial planners must meet to recommend the best investment options rather than those that pay the adviser the most. The vigor with which the major PBMs oppose this requirement suggests that the interests of traditional PBMs and of employers and other health plan sponsors are often misaligned.

"While the legal process continues concerning this particular statute, separately an increasing number of PBM transparency reforms are underway at the federal and state level, as well as in the private sector:

"These are just some of the reform efforts underway, none of which will be slowed by the court's opinion. Despite this particular court ruling, momentum continues to grow to force giant PBMs reaping record profits, particularly CVS Caremark, Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts International, to finally be accountable to employers, taxpayers and patients."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at

Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM