Nevada Governor Vetoed Bill Targeting Diabetes Drug Prices

June 6, 2017
Jackie Syrop

Nevada bill SB 265, which would have required pharmaceutical companies that make diabetes drugs to disclose information on insulin pricing, profits, and costs, and to publicly post that information, was vetoed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. Sandovol cited concerns over “nascent, unproven, and disruptive” changes to state healthcare policy.

A Nevada bill (SB 265) that would have required pharmaceutical companies that make diabetes drugs to disclose information on insulin pricing, profits, and costs and publicly post that information, was vetoed by Nevada’s governor on June 2, 2017.

Republican Governor Brian Sandoval cited concerns over “nascent, unproven, and disruptive” changes to state healthcare policy in vetoing the bill, which was one of 20 pieces of legislation that the governor had to sign or veto or it would become law without his signature. The bill had passed the Nevada Senate 19-2 and the Assembly 26-14 in May.

The bill would have lowered the cost of certain essential diabetes drugs, such as insulin, by requiring companies that make the drugs to report costs of production and marketing along with any rebates they provided. Additionally, the bill included language that would have mandated pharmaceutical sales representatives to annually report details of interactions with physicians, including who they visited and what samples or gifts they provided.

Governor Sandoval said certain parts of the bill were “laudable” and “well-intentioned,” and sought to address legitimate concerns about access to affordable drugs. But he said that the bill posed serious risks of unintended and potentially detrimental consequences for patients in the state and could possibly lead to rising healthcare costs. “There must be compelling evidence that the benefits are worth the risks,” he said, before he would support a bill as “uncertain” as SB 265. Sandoval said the bill’s mandated 90-day notice of price increases could create a perverse incentive for some to stockpile drugs to maximize profits and give purchasers, wholesalers, and secondary distributors of drugs greater financial incentive to restrict access to drugs. The bill also failed to address the role played by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in prescription drug prices, the governor said.

Sandoval noted he had received hundreds of constituent calls and letters and opposition to the bill from groups such as the Epilepsy Foundation and the Nevada Cancer Research Foundation.

The bill’s sponsor, state senator Yvanna Cancela (D-Las Vegas), said she was deeply disappointed in the governor’s decision to veto a bill with significant bipartisan support that would have potentially led the nation in taking on high drug costs. Nevada’s Senate majority leader Aaron Ford said that the governor’s veto had put the interests of major pharmaceutical companies ahead of the 1 million patients with diabetes and pre-diabetes.