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Eight bottles of insulin sitting on a table on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (Alan Levine/Courtesy under Creative Commons)

When we filed suit against the State of Nevada to enforce a drug transparency law passed by the Legislature in 2017, we knew our fight was not just with Carson City.

We knew at some point that those with the most to lose – the pharmaceutical companies – would try to intervene and protect how they price their products from public view. That has now come to pass, and I want our readers to know we are in this for the long haul.

Sanofi, one of the world’s largest drug companies, filed a motion last month to intervene in our lawsuit, which seeks to compel the state to do what the law was intended to do: Make public annual disclosure filings from companies to the state  – in this case, diabetes drug producers.

The state has denied these are public records, a move that subverts the intent of the law. Judge Adriana Escobar has delayed a hearing after briefs were filed about three weeks ago by The Indy and Attorney General Aaron Ford, who in his filing argued against the intent of a bill he once wholeheartedly supported as a state senator.

Enter Sanofi.

Through its local counsel, Bailey-Kennedy, the company, which is one of the three major insulin manufacturers in the country, filed a motion to intervene in the case at about the time the judge delayed the hearing. But this lawsuit, filed after we were snubbed in our attempt to obtain public records, is between us and the state. So we opposed Sanofi’s motion.

(There was a hearing on Sanofi’s motion Tuesday, and Escobar is expected to issue a written order.)

Here is the key sentence from our filing:

“The Respondents (the state) have throughout aligned themselves tightly with Sanofi and other pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers, and have now filed (a) briefing indicating they will continue to do the same."

And we conclude with what our ultimate challenge is in this case, and why we are so thankful for our pro bono lawyer Matthew Rashbrook:

“Petitioners in (public records) cases are almost universally opposed by government agencies with effectively limitless resources, as The Nevada Independent is here. Sanofi, proposing to intervene, concedes that their interests are already adequately represented by the government’s limitless resources, but still proposes to bring its own limitless resources to bear, and asks the Court to ignore the extensive prejudice Petitioner has already and will no doubt continue to suffer.”

That is, “L’etat, c’est Pharma.

So be it.

We will continue to move forward in what we consider an important effort to ensure the state and Pharma do not subvert the intent of a landmark law.

Sanofi motion to intervene by Jon Ralston on Scribd

Nevada Independent opposition by Jon Ralston on Scribd

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