CPhA weighs in on new development in California Medi-Cal lawsuit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. A lawsuit that eight California pharmacies filed to prevent the state from slashing pharmacy reimbursements offered through its Medi-Cal program has been moved to a federal court, the California Pharmacists Association announced Friday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration delayed a hearing on a temporary restraining order the pharmacies had filed to prevent the Department of Health Care Services from reducing reimbursements to pharmacies for drugs dispensed to Medi-Cal beneficiaries by 10 percent. The pharmacies filed an action in a California state court on June 9, but DHCS Director Sandra Shewry successfully petitioned to have the lawsuit moved to federal court.

The eight pharmacies argued that the cuts would be harmful to the Medi-Cal program and the 6.5 million people who rely on it.

“We are sorely disappointed with what appears purely to be a delay tactic by the State and believe DHCS had no basis for the removal,” said Lynn Rolston, chief executive officer of the CPhA. “It seems the State is afraid to have these issues heard by California courts. We believe the pharmacies that filed this action will seek an immediate remand to state court for a hearing on the merits. There are two other lawsuits pending in federal court as a result of similar action by DHCS. We are confident that all of these cases present strong legal arguments for stopping these draconian 10 percent provider cuts.” 

The pharmacies involved are Farmacia Remedios, Ross Valley Pharmacy, South Sacramento Pharmacy, Horton and Converse Pharmacies, Zweber Apothecary, Komoto Pharmacy and Medical Pharmacy, Pucci’s Leader Pharmacy and Gregg’s Pharmacy.

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