ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have filed with a federal appeals court a legal brief challenging the First DataBank and Medi-Span Inc. settlements, which reduce average wholesale prices (AWPs).
The two trade associations were joined in the brief by pharmacies asserting that the AWP reductions would harm them. NACDS and FMI say that the AWP cuts would dramatically lower reimbursements for many pharmacies. The appeals brief argues that it is inappropriate to harm pharmacies that were not defendants in the original lawsuit, because they did nothing wrong.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit granted a motion to expedite the schedule for the appeal, which means that the court could issue a decision on the NACDS/FMI appeal before the cuts occur as scheduled on September 26.
“Patient access to pharmacy is at risk if the pending settlements are implemented, as they will cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for many pharmacies to devastating levels,” states NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson.
FMI senior vice president and chief legal officer Deborah White says that the district court’s approval of the judicial settlement “unconstitutionally punishes every pharmacy in the country,’’ and calls it an “egregious’’ error.
“We are pleased the 1st Circuit Court granted our motion to consider this matter quickly, and we encourage the 1st Circuit to overturn the district court’s order,” she comments.
First DataBank, Medi-Span and the class action attorneys were scheduled to file opposing briefs by June 29. NACDS and FMI are expected to file a reply brief on July 13, and the court is scheduled to hold a hearing with oral arguments during the week of July 27.