Drug company raised price of lifesaving opioid overdose antidote more than 600 percent

As the nation struggled with the rising number of opioid deaths, a private drug company increased the price of an overdose antidote more than 600 percent, a Senate subcommittee says in a new report.

The increase has cost the federal Medicare and Medicaid health programs more than $142 million since 2014, according the Homeland Security permanent subcommittee on investigations.

Richmond, Virginia-based Kaleo  increased the price of its auto-injectable overdose-reversal drug EVZIO from $575 to $4,100, the subcommittee reported.

The company also changed its sales strategy and encouraged doctors to complete paperwork identifying it as a medically necessary drug, allowing them to bypass potentially cheaper generic versions of naloxone, the subcommittee reported.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who chairs the subcommittee, blasted the price hike.

“The fact that one company dramatically raised the price of its naloxone drug and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in increased drug costs, all during a national opioid crisis, is simply outrageous,” Portman said in a statement.

Read more here.

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