Alexandria, Va. - Jan. 29, 2013
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), along with the National Grocers Association (NGA) and National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), submitted a brief to the Supreme Court of the United States yesterday as amici curiae (or "friend of the court") in American Express Company et al. v. Italian Colors Restaurant et al. The brief was submitted on behalf of the associations and their members in support of the merchant plaintiffs in that proceeding.
"Most small business members have no choice but to enter into arrangements with credit card payment networks, health insurance companies and other suppliers of goods and services that wield substantial market power," said NGA, NCPA and NACS. "In many of these current and prospective arrangements, these suppliers, like American Express, are insisting that our small business members waive their ability to privately enforce antitrust law via a class action—a procedure that has necessarily been and must often been utilized by our small business members to remediate losses caused by suppliers' anticompetitive conduct and to enjoin such illegal conduct from continuing. If these class action waivers that have been forced upon our members are held to always be enforceable, even where our members would be deprived of effectively vindicating their rights under antitrust law, our members will suffer substantial harm."
"Small businesses like independent community pharmacies are the backbone of the U.S. economy and a pillar of many local communities across the country," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Too often, independent community pharmacists are forced into take-it-or-leave-it contracts with large corporations. NCPA filed this brief because independent community pharmacists deserve more leeway to challenge anticompetitive, anti-consumer conduct by dominant suppliers including health insurance and credit card companies."
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com/.
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