A first-of-its kind bill in Nevada designed to combat the rising cost of diabetes medications received a setback in early May when a key provision was removed.
The Nevada Legislative Council Bureau said that S.B. 265 could not include the provision that requires drug manufacturers to refund patients and insurers if diabetes drug wholesale prices rise more than the medical component of the Consumer Pricing Index each year, according to Stat.
While Nevada is one of 23 states with proposed legislation aimed at taking on the rising cost of prescription drugs, S.B. 265 is the only bill that specifically focuses on the price of two groups of diabetes drugs: insulin and biguanides, according to Business Insider
The list price of the most commonly used insulins has increased around 300% over the last decade, Business Insider reported.
However, one expert recommended caution on drug pricing legislation like S.B. 265. "Drug pricing in America is the result of a complex, multifactorial system that is influenced by drug companies (and their obligations to shareholders), payers (insurers, employers and patients), government pricing mandates, middlemen (pharmacy benefit managers, wholesalers, and group purchasing organizations), and providers (pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, physicians, etc.),” Robert T. Taketomo, PharmD, President and CEO of pharmacy services administrator Ventegra, told Drug Topics. “Care must be taken that any government intervention—whether at the state or federal level—does not trigger unintended consequences."
The Nevada bill was introduced by Democratic State Senator Yvanna Cancela, who previously was director for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas. At that time, she discovered that union members were finding it difficult to pay for insulin.
Around 12% of Nevadans have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, according to Cancela, and another 39% have prediabetes.
The bill also seeks the business expenses of drug manufacturers relating to insulin and is investigating why there are not more generic diabetes medications available. Manufacturers would be required to disclose the costs of materials, manufacturing, administrative expenses, and research that go into producing drugs for diabetes.
The bill also requires “certain nonprofit organizations” to report contributions received from drug manufacturers to the Department of Health and Human Services and authorizes the department to impose an administrative penalty in certain circumstances. Pharmaceutical representatives will also need to be licensed in Nevada, and submit an annual report on their activities.