November 15, 2018 Blogs

Meet Drug Price Fighting Hero Yvanna Cancela

Yvanna Cancela is a state senator from Nevada and the lead sponsor of a first-in-the-nation insulin pricing transparency law to hold drugmakers and pharmacy benefit managers accountable for never-ending price spikes that hurt patients.

For her groundbreaking initiative at a time people with diabetes are skipping doses, losing their eyesight, and going without food due to insulin costs, Patients For Affordable Drugs has named Cancela a November 2018  Drug Price Fighting Hero.

Cancela’s transparency measure became law in June 2017. Subsequent Big Pharma efforts to fight the law failed. The new law means:

  • Insulin manufacturers that increase list prices at certain thresholds must disclose to the state information about the costs of making and marketing the drugs, and what rebates they provide.
  • Pharmacy benefit managers — the drug company middlemen that manage insurance plans’ prescription drug benefits — must disclose the rebates that they negotiate with diabetes drugmakers, and how much of those rebates they keep.
  • Nonprofits must disclose when they get funding from drug manufacturers and other sectors of health care.

The bipartisan efforts by Cancela on behalf of insulin-dependent patients will help the nearly 281,000 people in Nevada with diabetes, and the state’s leadership ripples well beyond its borders; the bill serves as a model for other states.

Discussion must include “price transparency in all parts of the system,” she said at a panel on drug pricing hosted by Pew in Washington.

Yvanna Cancela has continued to champion issues that matter to patients in her state, bringing awareness to an overlooked issue and changed the lives of many insulin-dependent people.



Patients For Affordable Drugs’ Price Fighting Heroes is a 2018 series highlighting advocates in the fight to lower prescription drug prices.

We will honor patients, private sector leaders, policy makers, and elected officials who are advocating for patients and fighting for lower drug prices. In doing so, we hope to encourage others to join the fight and continue their good work.  

We plan to feature our heroes on our social media accounts and blog, lift up their stories in the media and honor them at an event in 2019.

If you have someone you want to nominate as a hero, you can do so here.



Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.