Monday, July 18, 2016

BIG PHARMA PLAYS BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE

First they get you to "ask your doctor" for those feel good pain killers.  Once you're hooked (and mnay people are) they then charge you an arm and a leg to get the anecdote just in case you OD. A win-win for drug companies Ah! the wonders of predatory capitalism at work.


Naloxone works by blocking the effect that painkillers and heroin have in the brain and reversing the slowed breathing and unconsciousness that come with an overdose.

The Solace Foundation in Orange County, the group that Dunkle co-founded, says the drug has been used since February to reverse 128 overdoses that otherwise probably would have been fatal.

But as the demand for naloxone has risen — overdose deaths now total 130 every day, or roughly the capacity of a Boeing 737 — the drug’s price has soared.


Not long ago, a dose of the decades-old generic drug cost little more than a dollar. Now the lowest available price is nearly 20 times that.

One manufacturer, Kaleo of Richmond, Va., increased the wholesale price of its auto-injector to $4,500 this year for a package of two from $690 in 2014.

Increased access to naloxone is among the measures included in federal legislation that Congress passed last week in response to the painkiller deaths. The White House has said that President Obama plans to sign the bill.

Last month, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) wrote to Kaleo, Rancho Cucamonga’s Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and three other drug makers, asking why they had hiked prices for naloxone during a public health crisis.

“At the same time this epidemic is killing tens of thousands of Americans a year,” said McCaskill, “we’re seeing the price of naloxone go up by 1,000% or more.”

The companies separately defended their prices. One said it was spending millions to innovate and make naloxone easier to administer. Another said investments were needed to maintain the drug’s high quality.

Kaleo said it increased the list price of its drug Evzio after deciding to cover patients’ insurance co-pays to ease access to it.


As Prescription Painkiller Addiction Soars, Drug Companies Raise Overdose Treatment Price By 1000%