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: