Keating demands answers for Naxalone injector price increase

Used to treat OD patients, cost went from $690 to $4,500
Congressman Bill Keating

Congressman Bill Keating, whose district has four of the top five counties in the Commonwealth affected by opioid-related deaths, has demanded answers from Kaleo Pharma for its dramatic price hike of Evzio, the injector device used to administer naloxone.  Evzio is designed to give verbal instructions for naloxone injection when activated in an opioid overdose emergency.

The cost of Evzio has gone from $690 to $4,500 in just three years.

Congressman Keating, who has been a leader in Congress on combatting the opioid epidemic since he introduced The Stop Tampering of Prescription Pharmaceuticals (STOPP) ACT during his first term, met with Kaleo in both 2015 and 2016 when he was a keynote speaker at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.  Earlier this week, he sent a letter to Kaleo regarding Evzio and its price increase, which is attached to this release.

In the letter, Congressman Keating stated:

“During my time in Congress, I have worked to provide grants for addiction treatment and recovery programs; designed education requirements for opioid prescribers; and introduced the Co-Prescribing Saves Lives Act, legislation that would, among other things, provide taxpayer-supported assistance towards the purchase of naloxone.  To that end, I expect drug companies like Kaleo to work in parallel to help us maximize the value of federal dollars spent on combatting the opioid epidemic.”

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the top five counties with the highest per capita rates of opioid-related overdose deaths are (in order) Barnstable, Plymouth, Dukes, Essex, and Bristol.  All but Essex County are in the Ninth Congressional District.  And of the top two – Barnstable and Plymouth – the average number of deaths per capita are almost double the state average.

In addition to numerous amendments, Congressman Keating has authored three pieces of legislation aimed at curbing the opioid crisis:

  • The Safe Prescribing for Veterans Act, which was introduced at the end of April 2016, will decrease opioid over-prescription and overuse among veterans by establishing a pain management continuing education requirement that functions as a condition of employment for opioid- prescribers at the VA.
  • The Stop Tampering of Prescription Pharmaceuticals (STOPP) ACT, which mandates the creation of physical and pharmacological tamper-resistant formulations for commonly abused painkillers by directing the FDA to deny approval to new oral opioids that do not have abuse-deterrent properties if an abuse-deterrent drug containing the same opioid is available.  When originally introduced by Congressman Keating in 2011, it was first-of-its-kind federal legislation to address this issue.  The STOPP Act was recently included in the Congressional Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic’s legislative agenda.
  • The Co-Prescribing Saves Lives Act, which creates guidelines for co-prescribing Naloxone alongside opioid prescriptions and making naloxone more widely available.  It also creates a grant program so State Departments of Health have the resources to do the same.

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