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Price of life-saving drug for opioid overdoses jumps 600 percent


You’ve heard this story before: A pharmaceutical company takes advantage of demand for a life-saving drug by raising the price and raking in a hefty profit.

It’s happening again, this time with the nation’s deadly opioid crisis.

Vox reports that pharmaceutical company Kaleo raised the price of its naloxone drug, called EVZIO, from $575 to $4,100 over the span of four years. That’s a whopping 600 percent. And that’s after the company set the initial price twice as high as outside experts recommended, according to Vox.

Other companies make naloxone, but EVZIO was the first version of naloxone that allowed anyone, regardless of medical expertise, to inject the drug to save someone’s life because it could go into muscle rather than a vein.

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Tom Carpenter (D-Delaware) have issued a report on the price increase, among several investigations into business practices around the opioid crisis. Kaleo, for its part, says its practices were aimed at helping people, that the drug helped save more than 5,000 lives and that it has yet made no profit.

Perhaps lost in all this is that more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017.

What do you think of this? What should be done? Have you struggled with high drug prices? Share your story with Voices.