Injunction denied: Pharma argument fails to freeze Nevada drug pricing law

A judge in Nevada denied PhRMA and BIO's motion for immediate relief from a drug pricing law. (Courtesy Amadscientist)

Drug pricing regulation hasn't gained much ground on a national level, but in Nevada, there's a fierce fight over pricing and transparency for diabetes medications. In the latest twist, the industry lost its bid to stall a new law that's designed to shine light on pricing practices. 

Industry groups PhRMA and BIO filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against officials in Nevada, contending that the state's Senate Bill 539 will "impose irreparable injury" against drugmakers.

The bill mandates that the state gather a list of essential diabetes medicines and as well as detailed pricing information from companies that sell those drugs. The reports would include costs, profits, rebates and other details, in addition to pricing numbers.

And then that information would go public: Under the law, the state would publish the reported info online.

RELATED: Top 10 diabetes drugs by 2016 sales 

Industry hit back with a lawsuit saying the legislation is "unprecedented" and "unconstitutional" because it forces companies to release trade secrets. Sanofi, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Merck & Co. are the top diabetes drugmakers, with Johnson & Johnson and other drugmakers chipping in, but the bill also tackles pharmacy benefit managers and their influence on diabetes pricing.

Even after suing the state, the industry asked the court for immediate relief under a federal rule allowing a restraining order, given proof of "immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage ... before the adverse party’s opposition" is heard, according to an order from Judge James C. Mahan in U.S. federal court in Nevada.  

But the drug industry didn't meet that threshold, Judge Mahan continued, because the first round of disclosures under the law aren't due until next summer. In this case, "defendants must be afforded time to respond to plaintiffs’ motion," Judge Mahan wrote. 

The back-and-forth in Nevada represents only one drug pricing battle going on around the country as discussion on the issue has largely stalled in Washington, D.C. California has its own proposal awaiting a decision by the governor, while Maryland has passed legislation aimed at price hikes in the generic sector. The generic industry trade group sued in response. 

Around the country, lawmakers in 30 states have drafted some 60 drug price transparency bills as of August, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy.