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Asthma drug-pricing bill advances to Nevada Assembly

Updated April 19, 2019 - 10:40 am

CARSON CITY — A bill that would add asthma medication to Nevada’s prescription drug transparency law was approved Thursday by the state Senate.

With a 19-2 vote in the upper chamber, Senate Bill 262 heads to the Assembly, where it will go through the hearing process once again. The bill sponsored by Sen. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, would require drug companies to disclose information annually about how they price asthma medications, including manufacturing costs and investments in research.

“The intent of this bill is to shed transparency on why those costs increase and help inform public policy so that we can better make decisions to lower the cost of drugs like asthma drugs,” Cancela said on the floor of the Senate before the vote.

In Nevada, 10.4 percent of adults and 11.5 percent of children have asthma; both figures are higher than the national average, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

The proposal builds on a law passed in 2017 championed by Cancela that requires similar disclosures for insulin. When it passed, it was considered the strictest drug-price disclosure law in the nation.

“What I liked about the legislation then was that we were shedding light on the whole process, all the way back to manufacturers,” said Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas. “The bill does the same thing here, and I’m grateful for the sponsor and what she’s trying to accomplish.”

Sens. Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, and Joseph Hardy, R-Boulder City, voted against the bill. Hansen and Hardy also voted against the 2017 insulin transparency bill.

Ban on animal testing

Senate Bill 197, which would ban the sale of cosmetic products that were tested on animals, cleared the Senate by a 14-7 vote Thursday.

All 13 Democrats in the body voted for the bill sponsored by Sen. Melanie Scheible, D-Las Vegas. Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, the lone Republican to vote for it, said he supported it to “stand up for the little furry guy.”

“It’s a question as to whether this is a practice that we should continue doing or is necessary at this point,” Kieckhefer during the bill’s floor debate.

But Hardy said during the debate that he believes animal testing still has a place when it comes to cosmetics.

“When we test lipsticks, sometimes it’s probably wise to test it on an animal before we test it on a human,” he said.

Affordable housing

The Senate also approved a bill that supporters say would help the state address the growing affordable housing crisis.

Senate Bill 398, sponsored by Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, would require local governments to use certain money to develop affordable housing. It was approved by a 15-6 vote, with Kieckhefer and Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, joining the 13 Senate Democrats in voting in favor.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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