South Dakota supports prescription drug lawsuit

South Dakota supports prescription drug lawsuit Gov. Bill Janklow announced Nov. 1 that the state of South Dakota supports the state of Maine's upcoming legal fight against the prescription drug industry in the U.S. Supreme Court.

"A victory for Maine will be a victory for South Dakota and for every state that wants to design its own program for trying to deal with the high cost of prescription drugs," Janklow said. "It's just like they said during our nation's war for independence some 225 years ago: We must hang together or we all hang separately."

Janklow asked the state's office of attorney general to officially add South Dakota to the group of states filing an amicus

brief supporting Maine's case against the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry's trade group. South Dakota signed up Oct. 31.

PhRMA has gone to court to block Maine's program that would negotiate with drug makers for discounts similar to those given to the Medicaid program. Maine would use the savings to reimburse pharmacies for giving discounts to customers who lack drug coverage. Maine officials estimate eligible residents would save 10 percent to 30 percent on prescription drug costs under the program. PhRMA argues the program would be a burden on interstate commerce.

In August, Gov. Janklow signed a letter with 22 other governors across the nation supporting President Bush's administration and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson in another lawsuit brought by PhRMA. In that case, PhRMA is attempting to block a federal waiver that would allow the State of Michigan to create a preferred drug list to help manage its Medicaid costs.

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