57 new Nevada laws begin Jan. 1; major ones impact pharmaceutical industry
CARSON CITY, Nev. — A total of 57 new laws took effect Jan. 1 in Nevada, including the Legislature’s attempt to get a handle on the skyrocketing price of insulin and other diabetes treatment drugs.
Senate Bill 539 was strongly opposed by the drug and pharmacy representatives. It requires the state Health and Human Services Department compile a list of drugs essential to treat diabetes and the drugs on that list that have seen significant price increases in the past two years. That list would be public.
It also requires the manufacturer of those drugs to submit to the department an annual report about the cost of the drugs, list those that have significantly increased in price and the reason for the increase.
It further requires organizations that advocate for patients or medical research to provide information about what payments, donations and other things of value they’ve received from drug makers and pharmacy benefit managers.
Also effective Jan. 1 was SB474, a sweeping attempt to deal with the opioid addiction crisis. The bill would limit initial opioid pain prescriptions to just a 14-day supply, require doctors and other professionals who prescribe pain medications to have solid reasons for prescribing, conduct an assessment of the patient’s vulnerability to addiction and develop an evidence based diagnosis and treatment plan.
SB474 further says no patient should be prescribed those drugs for more than a year and requires a documented explanation why exceeding 365 days is necessary.
Backers of the plan, which Gov. Brian Sandoval listed as one of his priority measures in the 2017 Legislature, say it doesn’t prevent patients from getting appropriate medications but establishes good practices for prescribing them.
Several laws revamping and strengthening controls over guardianships are taking effect this year. SB360 imposes stiff penalties for the abuse, neglect, exploitation, isolation or abandonment of an older or vulnerable person by guardians who are supposed to protect them. Acts that result in bodily harm would be a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. In AB130, the state tightens restrictions on the ability of guardians to dispose of or sell a ward’s property and requires court approval to pay attorney fees from an estate.
That law also created the State Guardianship Compliance Office headed by an officer appointed by the Supreme Court.
That officer would have the ability to hire two accountants and two investigators to audit and investigate complaints and other abusive conduct. Authors of the law say there have been cases where guardians essentially emptied the bank accounts and other assets of the person they were charged with protecting.
The bill appropriates just under $1 million over the biennium to run the office.
AB249 and SB233 both mandate that public and private health plans cover access to contraception. Both, however, allow an organization an exemption based on religious beliefs. AB249 would require the state to pay the federal share of Medicaid family planning services and supplies.
In addition, SB122 provides for access to family planning services in the state. But the bill contains no funding, relying instead on gifts, grants and donations.
Similarly, SB91 establishes the HIV/AIDS and Cancer Drug Donation programs allowing people or governmental entities to donate to programs that provide drugs for those conditions. The bill specifically rejects the idea of donating medical marijuana.
SB201 prohibits health care professionals from providing sexual orientation, gender identity conversion therapy to minors. It states the Legislature declares there’s a compelling need to protect children from, “harmful and destructive effects of conversion therapies.”
SB194 prohibits the purchase, sale or possession with intent to sell any item made from shark fin, lion, elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, ray, mammoth, narwhal, walrus or hippo.
SB361 expands protections for victims of domestic violence and enhances penalties including requiring a minimum two year prison term in cases involving strangulation by someone who has previously been convicted of felony domestic battery.
SB19 expands Carson City’s highly successful dual enrollment program to the rest of the state. That program allows high school students to get dual credit for classes taken both at the high school and Western Nevada College.
AB482 creates the State Board for Career and Technical Education to oversee those programs statewide and grants the board the power to make state funds available for CTE programs.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.