Pharmaceutical giant Express Scripts' motion to dismiss contract violation claims affirmed in appeals court

By Charmaine Little | Dec 18, 2018

ST. LOUIS — A Manhattan pharmacy failed to state a claim in its lawsuit against the largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) in the nation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed in upholding a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case.

The Park Irmat Drug Corporation sued Express Scripts Holding Company and Express Scripts, Inc. with accusations stemming from contract claims, a promissory estoppel claim to violations of federal antitrust laws and Any Willing Provider laws.

In its lawsuit, Irmat, which signed on to be a part of Express’s pharmaceutical network, accused Express of terminating the agreement without cause.

The appeals court said, however, that “there is no necessity that for each stipulation in a contract binding the one party there must be a corresponding stipulation binding the other,” ruling that Express had the right to terminate the agreement.


Circuit Judge Roger L. Wollman  

Irmat had argued that Express violated its duty of faith and fair dealing with it removed Irmat from the organization, but Irmat did not refute claims that it had violated the contract.

Irmat also accused Express of conspiring with CVS to boycott Irmat, but the court pointed out that CVS later let Irmat join its mail-order network, suggesting that CVS and Express weren’t conspiring together.

The companies first partnered in 2012 after Irmat signed up for Express Script’s PBM network, which required Irmat to sign a network provider agreement that included recredentialing guidelines, restrictions from mail-order operations, and a host of other guidelines, which Irmat later violated.

Circuit Judge Roger L. Wollman authored the opinion, which was issued on Dec. 12. Circuit Judges Jane L. Kelly and Ralph R. Erickson concurred.

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