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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments for Rutledge v. PCMA

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments for Rutledge v. PCMA

Tue, Oct 6, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). In this case, Rutledge seeks to protect family pharmacies in Arkansas and to ensure Arkansans’ access to affordable healthcare by defending the State’s power to regulate the abusive payment practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

“Arkansans deserve affordable healthcare. By requiring these drug middlemen to be held accountable to pay pharmacies a fair price, we are protecting Arkansans from skyrocketing prescription drug prices and preserving their access to frontline healthcare providers like family pharmacies,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Our case was one of two landmark healthcare cases before the Supreme Court this term, and it’s time states like Arkansas had the power to protect themselves.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Rutledge is supported by the U.S. Solicitor General and a bipartisan coalition led by California that includes 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

In 2015, PCMA filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of Act 900, which regulates PBMs, who act as prescription drug middlemen, reimbursing pharmacists for prescription drugs dispensed to insurance beneficiaries. Before Act 900, PBMs often reimbursed pharmacies at less than the pharmacies’ cost to acquire a drug. This practice and other factors caused more than 16% of rural pharmacies to close in recent years. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas ruled in 2017 that Act 900 was preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and, in 2018, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

The case is Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No.18-540.

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Rutledge’s Statement on Pine Bluff Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

Rutledge’s Statement on Pine Bluff Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

Mon, Oct 5, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following the announcement Pine Bluff Police Officer Kevin Collins was killed in the line of duty Monday afternoon.

“My deepest condolences go out to the family of Pine Bluff Police Officer Kevin Collins who was killed in the line of duty today,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Officer Collins paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting his community and patrolling the streets of Pine Bluff. He will be remembered as a true public servant who put on the badge every day making a commitment to protect and serve the people of Pine Bluff. Officer Collins was highly respected among his brothers and sister in blue and was honored as Pine Bluff Police Department’s Officer of the Year in 2018. I want his family and fellow law enforcement officers to know my thoughts and prayers are with them during this incredibly difficult time. The entire State of Arkansas is forever indebted to Officer Collins for his unwavering service. I also pray for the other officers involved in this tragic incident.”

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Rutledge’s PBM U.S. Supreme Court Case to be Livestreamed on C-SPAN

Rutledge’s PBM U.S. Supreme Court Case to be Livestreamed on C-SPAN

Mon, Oct 5, 2020

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s U.S. Supreme Court case, Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, will be livestreamed on C-SPAN on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. central time to ensure the court is open to the general public. Due to COVID-19, the case will be argued by telephone. Nicholas Bronni, Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Office will be arguing from Little Rock for the Attorney General.

“With arguments to be aired live on C-SPAN, all Americans will have the opportunity to hear how we are protecting local pharmacists who play the vital role as frontline healthcare providers in rural Arkansas and across the country every day,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Despite the delays, our critical fight to protect Arkansans’ access to affordable prescription drugs will finally have its day before the Supreme Court.”

In the U.S. Supreme Court, Attorney General Rutledge is supported by the U.S. Solicitor General and a bipartisan coalition led by California that includes 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

In 2015, PCMA filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of Act 900, which regulates pharmacy benefit managers, who act as prescription-drug middlemen, reimbursing pharmacists for prescription drugs dispensed to insurance beneficiaries. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas ruled in 2017 that Act 900 was preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in 2018.

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Rutledge Announces Arkansas Joins Multistate Data Breach Settlement

Rutledge Announces Arkansas Joins Multistate Data Breach Settlement

Fri, Oct 2, 2020

Company to change its business practices to better protect consumer information

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Arkansas has joined a $39.5 million multistate settlement with Anthem stemming from the massive 2014 data breach in which cyber attackers were able to gain access to the personal information of 190,174 Arkansas residents. In total, 78.8 million Americans were affected by the breach. Arkansas will receive $205,524.91 from the settlement.

“Anthem is being held accountable for allowing hackers to take advantage and scam Arkansas families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans need to trust their information is private and in good hands online. Settlements like this ensure companies take the necessary steps to protect sensitive data.”

In February 2015, Anthem disclosed that cyber attackers had infiltrated its systems beginning in February 2014, using malware installed through a phishing email. The attackers were ultimately able to gain access to Anthem’s data warehouse, where they harvested names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, healthcare identification numbers, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and employment information.

In addition to the payment, Anthem has also agreed to a series of data security and good governance provisions designed to strengthen its information security practices going forward. Those include:

A prohibition against misrepresentations regarding the extent to which Anthem protects the privacy and security of personal information;

  • Implementation of a comprehensive information security program and including regular security reporting to the Board of Directors and prompt notice of significant security events to the CEO.
  • Specific security requirements with respect to segmentation, logging and monitoring, anti-virus maintenance, access controls and two factor authentication, encryption, risk assessments, penetration testing, and employee training, among other requirements.
  • Third-party security assessments and audits for three years, as well as a requirement that Anthem make its risk assessments available to a third-party assessor during that term.

In the immediate wake of the breach, Anthem offered an initial two years of credit monitoring to all affected U.S. individuals.

In addition to this settlement, Anthem previously entered into a class action settlement that established a $115 million settlement fund to pay for additional credit monitoring, cash payments of up to $50, and reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses for affected consumers. The deadlines for consumers to submit claims under that settlement have since passed.

In addition to Arkansas, the settlement is led by Connecticut and signed on by the Attorneys General of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New York, and joined by the Attorneys General of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Rutledge Files Suit Against Owner of The Iron Shop of Arkansas

Rutledge Files Suit Against Owner of The Iron Shop of Arkansas

Thu, Oct 1, 2020

Says, ‘Arkansans should be cautious of any business demanding upfront payments for projects or repairs’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed suit today against Robert Walley of Center Ridge and owner of The Iron Shop of Arkansas, for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Walley failed to complete the work that was agreed upon after requesting upfront payments for material to build ornamental iron fence projects for Arkansans.

“Arkansans should be cautious of any business demanding upfront payments for projects or repairs,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Let us do the fighting for you when dealing with businesses that fail to follow through on promises, correct mistakes or complete projects.”

Walley, doing business as The Iron Shop of Arkansas, sells and installs ornamental iron fences and other iron fixtures to consumers. Rutledge received seven unresolved consumer complaints since 2019 regarding Walley’s deceptive business practices. Consumers report Walley failed to complete work, provided inferior products differing from those ordered by customers, and failed to follow through on his promises to return to consumers’ homes to complete or correct projects. Other consumers have reported that Walley requested partial, upfront payments for materials and failed to purchase the materials or even begin the work.

Walley is not licensed to conduct residential home improvement work as required by the Arkansas Residential Contractors Board. He was fined and ordered to cease and desist conducting business by the Board on January 22, 2020, and June 24, 2020. Walley failed to attend either hearing.

Attorney General Rutledge filed the case in Pulaski County and is requesting restitution, civil penalties, injunctive relief and demands a jury trial.

Consumers who have been affected by the Iron Shop of Arkansas or experienced similar deceptive practices should contact the office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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Rutledge Sues Fayetteville Health Center over COVID-19 Immunity Boost Scams

Rutledge Sues Fayetteville Health Center over COVID-19 Immunity Boost Scams

Wed, Sep 30, 2020

Medical center fraudulently targets Latino community with expensive treatments

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a lawsuit against Arkansas Regenerative Medical Center LTD (ARMC), the firm’s medical director Sarah Knife Chief, M.D., and chiropractor Serge Francois, D.C. for fraudulently promoting to Northwest Arkansas’s Latino community expensive stem cell and ozone therapies, costing upwards of $3,000, to combat COVID-19.

“I will not allow Arkansans to fall prey to fraudulent COVID cures, especially when the scams take advantage of a language and cultural barrier,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This business preyed on public fear and targeted a minority community for personal gain. I will continue to work to hold accountable those who exploit consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In early 2020, ARMC, Chief, and Francois used a popular Hispanic radio station and even employed the station’s DJ in an effort to reach Latino consumers, who were being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. ARMC advertised on its website and Facebook page stem cell treatments and ozone therapy, claiming that they were “very effective” against COVID-19 and would allow employees to return to work more quickly. Consumers were charged upwards of $3,000 for the useless treatments. The CDC states there are no known drugs or other therapeutics presently approved by the FDA to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The lawsuit was filed in Washington County Circuit Court under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Rutledge seeks restitution for affected consumers, civil penalties, injunctive relief and other costs and fees incurred by the State of Arkansas in resolving this issue for consumers.

If you are a consumer who has been impacted by similar actions, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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