The opening line of a counterpunch to an Ohio lawsuit against health care conglomerate Centene is short and to the point: “There are no secrets here; there is nothing that needs to be hidden or, in fact, that even justifies the filing of this lawsuit,” said the St. Louis-based corporation in response to court action filed March 11th on behalf of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Side Effects series: Background investigation into pharmacy benefit managers and the rising cost of prescriptions in Ohio

The Fortune 50 company noted that the lawsuit was filed by special counsel Yost hired from Akron; Jackson, Mississippi; and Washington D.C. in connection with the state Medicaid program to provide prescription drugs and other medical services to poor Ohioans.

“These outside counsel failed to recognize the regulatory history and precedents of Ohio’s Medicaid system and violated the state’s contractual requirements to first provide ‘timely written notification’ of any alleged violation and ‘to make every reasonable effort to resolve the dispute,’” the company’s motion said.

Two Centene wholly owned subsidiaries — Buckeye Health Plan Community Solutions and Envolve Pharmacy Solutions — also were named in the Ohio lawsuit. The state’s legal claims are “easily explained away once the facts about Buckeye’s reporting and billings to the Ohio Department of Medicaid are understood,” the new Centene filing says.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

The Ohio lawsuit said Centene spent millions in taxpayer money to hire a pharmacy benefits manager to provide services for Medicaid recipients that essentially already were being handled by another PBM paid by the state.

The latest filing, contained in multiple motions stretching for dozens of pages, shows how attempts by Yost and other across the country to clamp down on PBMs are adamantly opposed by deep-pocketed health care organizations.