WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a group of thirty-one Senators, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), in demanding answers from a leading pharmaceutical company about the dramatic price hike for a life-saving medication used to respond to opioid overdoses.
Recent reports unveiled that drug maker Kaléo Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures an easy-to-use injector device containing the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, raised its price from $690 in 2014, to $4,500 currently. While the Evzio device has the potential to help thousands of individuals survive drug overdoses, the Senators wrote that the inexplicable price hike “threatens to price-out families and communities that depend on naloxone to save lives.”
“At a time when Congress has worked to expand access to naloxone products and to assist state and local communities to equip first responders with this life-saving drug, this startling price hike is very concerning,” the Senators wrote Wednesday to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals CEO Spencer Williamson.
The bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law last year, includes a Leahy-authored provision to help rural communities obtain the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Rural locations have the highest death rates in the country from opioid poisoning, and Naloxone has the potential to save more lives in these areas.
In addition to Baldwin and Leahy, the letter was signed by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner, (D-VA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
A copy of the letter to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals is available here.