(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Supreme Court

The second case to be argued tomorrow, and the last case to be argued until late February, is Pharmaceutical Research v. Concannon. It is a challenge to a Maine law that was designed to bring down prescription drug prices, by leveraging the State's power as a big purchaser under Medicaid. The details are enough to make your head hurt. The whippersnappers over at Goldstein Howe have a post that tells you more about the substance of the case than I care to, including links to many briefs. To make a long story short, one question is whether Maine's law violates the Constitution's Commerce Clause, on the theory that it amounts to an attempt by Maine to regulate things going on outside of Maine; the answer to this question is probably, "nope, no violation there," which is what the First Circuit said. The First Circuit also said that Maine's law does not conflict with (and therefore is not preempted by) the Medicaid statute; this is a harder question, because there is a pretty good argument that the Medicaid statute prohibits a state from aiming at non-Medicaid goals by using its Medicaid-related powers, and a pretty good argument that Maine has done that prohibited thing. My prediction is a toss-up, but I will say "REVERSE".

posted by sam 2:41 PM 0 comments


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