YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Lawmakers are coming down on one pharmaceutical company wanting to know why the dispenser for the anti-overdose drug naloxone has increased by nearly $4,000 in just three years.
According to Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Kaleo Pharmaceuticals raised the price of its Evzio dispenser from $690 in 2014 to $4,500 in 2017.
This week, Brown joined Senate colleagues in a letter to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals seeking answers from the drug company about the spike in the cost. The letter said in part:
At a time when Congress has worked to expand access to naloxone products and to assist state and local communities to equip first responders with this life-saving drug, this startling price hike is very concerning.
Brown said the state of Ohio has entered into a contract with Adapt Pharma to control price hikes for first responders, law enforcement, and community organizations purchasing naloxone nasal spray until November 2017. However, Brown said he is working now secure affordable access to the medication in the future for Ohio families who are currently unable to benefit from state’s agreement.
“With thousands of Ohioans struggling to overcome opioid addiction, we should all be doing our part to remove obstacles to recovery, not create them,” said Brown. “Such a sharp increase in the cost of this device puts access to this lifesaving medication out of reach for too many families across the country. My colleagues and I have worked to increase access to treatment and recovery, and we will continue to demand accountability on behalf of families in Ohio and throughout the U.S.”
According to Food and Drug Administration estimates, the Kaleo product, which won federal approval in 2014, accounted for nearly 20 percent of the naloxone dispensed through retail outlets between 2015 and 2016, and for nearly half of all naloxone products prescribed to patients between ages 40 and 64—the group that comprises the bulk of naloxone users.