LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoed two more bills on Monday including Assembly Bill 250 (AB250), which tried to guarantee some prescription drug prices for all Nevadans — not just people on Medicare.

Democrats attacked the veto as a sellout to “Big Pharma.”

AB250, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Venicia Considine, sought to give access to the federally negotiated price on 10 medications. The list of those medications has not been publicly released, and won’t be until late summer. They are expected to be brand-name medications that have no competition in the market.

Lombardo’s veto message:

“AB250 inappropriately relies on Medicare’s Maximum Fair Price (“MFP”) — a concept created in the federal Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) and signed into law a mere eight months ago. AB250 prohibits purchases or reimbursements above the MFP. That said, MFPs are not reference prices of objectives external benchmarks; rather, they are prices that manufacturers are compelled to make available with respect to Medicare beneficiaries because failure to do so will result in an excise tax, really a penalty, of an amount up to 1900% of daily sales and, potentially, an exclusion from doing business with Medicare and Medicaid in the future.

“State reliance on the MFP would upend the balance that Congress struck when it carefully determined the scope and breadth of transactions subject to an MFP. The more states and commercial entities treat the MFP as a benchmark, the less likely certain manufacturers may be to participate in federal healthcare programs or to continue seriously investing in marketing to Nevadans in need of care. This is undoubtedly why Congress explicitly restricted the obligation to provide access to the MFP to units finished or dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries.

Critically, AB250 would set arbitrary price caps in Nevada based on federal decisions with no review or consideration from state stakeholders. These caps could restrict patients’ access to medicines and result in less innovative treatments for patients.

Patient access to medication and treatment is critical, but even more important is research and development into medical innovation. Though price-setting policies are often aimed at the admirable goal of increasing access to care, the unintended consequence of many, if not most, related pricing regulations has been a decrease in innovation as bureaucratic entities tend to focus their investments on the policies or diseases they determine to be most worthy of support — not on patient-outcomes.

Moreover, AB250 ignores existing and potentially ongoing issues with the prescription drug supply chain. Many pharmacies and hospitals purchase medicines through national or regional buying groups, or national contracts based on national pricing indexes. Though those transactions would be subject to the price limits in this bill, in-state providers would still only be able to charge patients for the maximum in-state price. Effectively, this means providers would be forced to charge less than they actually pay for those products — an untenable result which would require providers to choose whether to continue providing certain medications or to discontinue purchasing those medications altogether. These circumstances would detrimentally impact both our patients and providers.

Since AB250 would ultimately lead to higher costs and less accessibility to certain forms of care, I cannot support it.

“Joe Lombardo has not only gone against the will of the 71% of Nevadans who support this legislation, but he also made it clear he’d rather line the pockets of Big Pharma than lower health care costs for hard working families,” Nevada State Democratic Party Spokesperson Mallory Payne said. “With Lombardo’s history of evading transparency and masking his donors through dark money groups, Nevadans deserve to know if special interests are influencing his dangerous decisions.”