Court Blocks Prescription Discount Plan

(Washington, D.C.) - In a significant win for community drug stores, a federal district court yesterday issued an injunction blocking President Bush’s plan to have Medicare endorse prescription drug discount cards for senior citizens, finding that the administration lacked the legal authority to create the program without congressional approval.

Judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the pharmacy groups who filed the lawsuit had a “substantial likelihood of success” of winning their case on two grounds: that the administration lacked the legal authority to create the program and that it had not followed the proper administrative procedure for enacting such a new program.

The pharmacy groups who filed suit to oppose the Medicare-endorsed cards have contended that the program lacked legal authority and was created secretly without allowing participation by either pharmacies or senior citizens as required under the notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Akin Gump represented the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association in the lawsuit. Partner Terence J. Lynam argued the case, with assistance in court from partners Scott M. Heimberg and Jorge Lopez Jr. Partner C. Fairley Spillman also worked on the brief. Associates Michael J. Parini, Thomas F. Felton and C. William Frick provided assistance.

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