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.

Founded in 1945, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P., a leading international law firm, numbers more than 1000 lawyers with offices in Austin, Brussels, Dallas, Denver, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Riyadh (affiliate), San Antonio and Washington. The firm has a diversified practice and represents regional, national and international clients in a wide range of areas, including antitrust; banking and financial institutions; capital markets; communications; corporate and securities; employee benefits; energy; entertainment; environment, land use and project development; estate planning, wealth transfer and probate; financial restructuring; government contracts; health; insurance; intellectual property; international; investment management; labor and employment; litigation; mergers and acquisitions; privatization; project finance; public law and policy; real estate and finance; taxation; and technology. For additional information, please visit our Web site at