It’s an alarming trend – yet another life-saving drug’s price has skyrocketed. Evzio, a drug that treats opioid overdose, has seen a dramatic price increase of over 600% since 2014.
In 2014, the year Evzio was approved for sale in the United States, the list price for a two-pack of auto-injectors was $575. Fast forward to 2017 and you’ll find the price for the exact same drug is $4,500. What’s the deal? Well, some experts are attributing the price increase to lack of competition. That doesn’t make it right though.
Evzio’s auto-injector contains Naloxone, which blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medications and is used in an emergency opioid overdose situation.
Who manufactures Evzio?
Evzio is manufactured by Kaléo Pharmaceuticals. The company also manufactures the Auvi-Q Injector, which administers Epinepherine to patients experiencing an extreme allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis shock.
Kaléo Pharmaceuticals CEO, Spencer Williamson, told Business Insider “No Naloxone product, branded or even generic, is less expensive for commercially insured patients, or patients without insurance and incomes below $100,000 a year, than Evzio.”
So what are the alternatives to Evzio?
Narcan Nasal Spray
$132.20 for a two-pack
Narcan is a nasal spray prescription drug, which utilizes the drug Naloxone, to treat an opioid emergency. The cost for 2 nasal sprays of Narcan is $132.20. Though this is not an auto-injector format, like Evzio, it can still be a more affordable option.
$19.23 for one 0.4 MG/ML syringe of Naloxone
The benefit of using Narcan or Evzio is that they have vehicles for administration; the auto-injector or spray pump. The only drawback of Naloxone syringes could be that it’s not as easy to administer. Naloxone itself has the ability to be so inexpensive, because you aren’t paying for a patented route of administration.
Some pharmacies offer Naloxone without a prescription
As part of Walgreens’ national plan to combat drug abuse, they have made Naloxone available without a prescription. The program is available in 33 states. To view the list of states where this program is available, visit Walgreens’ website. The company also says it will continue to expand its program in other states.
The U.S. Senate is getting involved
A group of 31 senators recently sent a letter to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Evzio, asking for more information about the drug’s price. The letter was addressed to Spencer Williamson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kaléo Pharmaceuticals.
The letter asks for Kaleo to detail the pricing structure for Evzio. It also asks for the company to provide documentation for why they have chosen to adjust the pricing structure. They also ask for Kaléo to provide information on production costs for Evizio.
Sen. Mike Lee, from Utah, discussed the issue on KSL News Radio.
“Whenever we see these spikes, especially the really dramatic ones, it’s always an indication of one simple thing – lack of competition,” said Lee.
He told KSL of two bills he has in Congress that will help bring down drug prices. One would allow more generic alternatives manufactured outside of the United States, to be available inside the U.S. The second would make it easier for generic drug manufacturers in the U.S. to get FDA approval.