Drug law challenged

A new state law under which Nevada tracks insulin prices has been challenged in court.

At this year’s Nevada Legislature, pharmaceutical corporation lobbyists poured in when lawmakers started processing a measure providing for monitoring drug prices.

As enacted, the new law requires drugmakers that raise list prices to disclose information about the costs of manufacturing and selling the drugs. The law prohibits gag deals under which pharmacists are forbidden to inform patients of cost-saving choices. Pharmacy benefit managers must disclose information about rebates they negotiate. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must register in Nevada and disclose information about their discussions with physicians. And patient advocacy groups must disclose when they are funded by the drug makers.

Such funding for patient advocacy groups was at issue during the legislature when some of them failed to support the bill. Kaiser Health News reported, “Prominent patient advocacy groups, like the American Diabetes Association, have maintained stony silence while diabetes patients championed the bill and lobbied the legislature during this debate—a silence that patients and experts say stems from financial ties. … Generally speaking, their advocacy focuses on pressuring insurers to pay the price of insulin, not protesting price rises.”

The original bill was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval when sponsored by a female senator, then approved by Sandoval when modified slightly and sponsored by a male senator.

The lawsuit was filed by two trade groups, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. The suit claims the law breaches trade secrets but does not explain how.