Sen. Gillibrand and peers react to anti-overdose drug price hike

Sen. Gillibrand and peers react to anti-overdose drug price hike

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and 31 other U.S. senators released an open letter on Wednesday in response to the rising price of the anti-overdose drug naloxone.Virginia company Kaléo Pharmaceuticals makes the easy-to-use naloxone injector device Evzio, used to save lives by reversing opioid overdoses. The drug manufacturers raised the price of Evzio from $690 for a two pack in 2014 to its current price of $4,500 — an increase of more than 550 percent.“This drug is now in the hands of first responders and families struggling with substance use disorder across the country,” the senators wrote in the open letter. “It is particularly needed in rural areas where access to life-saving emergency services can be limited. Such a steep rise in the cost of this drug threatens to price-out families and communities that depend on naloxone to save lives.”In the midst of an opioid crisis that stretches across the counties, reports of stronger, deadlier drugs have surfaced, to include heroin laced with potent substances like fentanyl. Overdoses caused by such drugs can take far more naloxone to reverse, as many as six or more doses to save a single life.Guilfoyle Ambulance Service President and CEO Bruce G. Wright said the company carries a form of naloxone called Narcan, and has not had trouble obtaining it but is looking for more cost-effective options. Guilfoyle does not pay as much as is charged for Evzio, but has still seen prices double in recent years.“Our biggest problem with this is that we normally do not recoup payment for treating overdosed patients because they refuse further medical care against our advice after we have ‘woken’ them up,” Mr. Wright wrote in an email. “In a lot of cases we may treat the same patient multiple times in the same week!”In 2016, a confirmed 21 people died from opioid overdose in Jefferson County alone.The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is stocked with naloxone through a Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization grant at no cost to the agency.Sheriff Colleen M. O’Neill said that carrying naloxone is extremely important for her deputies and their work in the community, “We’ve administered Narcan several times with positive results and I know the city officers use it frequently,” she said.“Evzio was designed to be simple to administer, making it particularly well suited for use by laypersons such as families looking to protect loved ones from overdose. Unfortunately, reports indicate Kaléo has responded to the increased need for naloxone devices by ratcheting up the price for Evzio,” the letter continues.According to Mr. Wright, ambulance companies across the U.S. often have to absorb the costs of naloxone administration at a tremendous financial loss to their businesses.The senators are asking the company to answer for the price hike and justify its actions in the face of an opioid epidemic estimated to claim more than 30,000 American lives each year.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Sen. Gillibrand and peers react to anti-overdose drug price hike

(1) Comment

  1. Arshad Sherif, M.A., M.Ed.

    It is not clear why Kirsten Gillibrand is making the headlines on this issue when there are 31 other senators who have signed this open letter on the drug Evzio. I guess it makes it easier for the drug company to know where to send the bribe. We know that hottie blonde Kirsten Gillibrand loves the cash. And she is coming up for re-election. So a generous contribution to her campaign by the drug company would be well-disguised. Surely the drug company would want to support Kirsten Gillibrand's far left politics. Any contribution the drug company makes would surely be on the basis of sheer political ideology. A huge contribution to her re-election effort would have nothing to do with getting her to shut up about the rising cost of a potent drug. And since today is Valentine's Day maybe this gorgeous blonde senator will throw in a little extra in return for the cash. Surely the CEO of Kaléo Pharmaceuticals would want to meet with her. Possibly to discuss the testing of a new drug. Or the testing of a new approach to getting a hottie blonde senator to climax more quickly. And more intensely.

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