Nevada bill could force Sanofi, Novo and Lilly to reveal their insulin pricing secrets

Nevada’s Senate has passed a bill that puts the insulin industry in its spotlight with tough new proposals. (Courtesy Amadscientist)

As a variety of states weigh measures targeting pharmaceutical pricing, Nevada’s Senate has passed a tough new bill that would publicly spotlight insulin makers' price hikes and profits.

Approved by the Nevada Senate on Friday, the bill would force diabetes drugmakers to disclose information on their insulin pricing, profits, costs and more, and would require the state government to publish the information publicly on the internet.

According to text posted online, the legislation would also force drugmakers to announce planned price hikes and allow purchasers to file for partial reimbursement if a price increase exceeds the medical care component of the Consumer Price Index, or above a “foreign price cap” that calculates drug prices outside of the U.S.

Furthermore, the state government could penalize companies that don’t comply with the terms of the proposal. The bill would also force nonprofits to disclose contributions from industry, among other items.

Nevada’s Senate passed the legislation by a 19-2 vote on Friday. While the proposal has gained support so far in the state government, industry lobby group PhRMA is decidedly opposed, according to a spokesperson.

“We are continuing to educate lawmakers and Nevadans about the dangers of this legislation and the fact that it will not do anything to help Nevada patients access or afford their medicines,” she said in a statement.

RELATED: Sanofi, Novo and Lilly face class action over 'astounding' insulin price hikes

But Nevada Sen. Yvanna Cancela, the primary sponsor of the bill, hopes the increased transparency would spark a conversation over drug pricing, according to the Associated Press. The bill now heads to the state’s Assembly.

Nevada is not alone in attempting to take drug pricing into its own hands. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January proposed creating a “review board” to determine the “fair price” for certain expensive drugs and mandating that the state wouldn’t pay more than that figure. Pharma hit back with a campaign called “Prescribe Real Solutions.”

Elsewhere, Maryland legislators have targeted price increases in the generic industry. Under that proposal, the Maryland Medical Assistance Program would notify of large price hikes and the state’s Attorney General could request drug companies to explain the rationale for the move. Then, if the AG thought the company had committed a violation of drug pricing law, he could request a court roll back the price hike and return money to consumers, plus issue a fine.

RELATED: Pharma lobby launches crusade against Cuomo's 'flawed' drug pricing plan in NY

Legislators in more than 30 states have introduced laws taking on pharma pricing as of April 27, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. On a national level, a wave of criticism has swept over the industry, and now the U.S. Congress is weighing a handful of proposals that include allowing Medicare price negotiations, importation from Canada and new restrictions on the industry.

While Nevada’s proposal calls for increased transparency in insulin pricing, top players Sanofi and Novo Nordisk have pledged to limit their increases, while Eli Lilly has unveiled high-level pricing details showing a large discrepancy between its list price increases and realized gains. All three have recently signed on with payer-drugmaker partnerships aimed at getting their treatments at lower out-of-pocket costs.

Separately, all three companies face allegations that they worked together to raise insulin prices.