A medication used in emergencies often called an antidote for overdoses of opioids has been surging in price the past few years.
The treatment is called Evzio and manufactured by Kaleo. It is the only version of naloxone that comes in the form of an auto-injector.
Naloxone reverses overdoses of opioids instantly through blocking the drug from making an interaction with receptors in the brain. Since 1971, the drug has been available in the market.
In 2014, when the U.S. approved Evzio, the two-pack was priced at $575. Now, that same two-pack price has increased to $4,500, which represents a 680% increase.
Kaleo, which is Richmond, Virginia, based and a privately-held company also is the owner of Auvi-Q, a device with emergency epinephrine that was in the headlines during October of 2016 when it was announced by the company that it would return to the U.S. to compete with EpiPen after being removed one year ago.
Evzio and Auvi-Q use the same technology of auto-injector to deliver the respective emergency mediations.
The price of Auvi-Q for a two-pack is also $4,500, though the company says that price in cash for those without insurance is $360 and over 200 million people are able to get their device for $0 with copay.
The list price amounts to approximately 640% higher than the EpiPen list price, which in August of 2016, was singled out for increasing the price for its two-pack by over 500% during the past seven years.
The prices of the two medications has caught the eye of Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, who on Friday sent a letter to Kaleo requesting additional information over the pricing strategy of the company.
List prices do not tell the entire story quite often when it comes to the drug’s price. Other players are involved in the system that takes a piece for themselves, which means what a drug maker might actually receive is lower even as the list price increases.
Kaleo would not comment on the average net price it charges for Evzio.
Klobuchar however did not seem to be satisfied by the pricing strategy of Kaleo. The senator said that she understands that Kaleo is attempting to mitigate the impact that consumers will feel to cities, drug treatment programs and first responders, while offering different programs to help make sure no consumer must pay $4,500.
The price of naloxone has been called out prior to this for its price.