A look into the drug that’s saving people from opioid overdoses

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The opioid epidemic has a string of non-profit organizations looking for ways to save lives.  Some are giving local law enforcement the tools needed to help people survive this epidemic.

The antidote Naloxone is one of the drugs that has pulled people out of an overdose.  It’s what the Jordan Filler Foundation wants in the hands of first responders.  They say thousands of lives have been saved because of it.

The demand is so high that organizations fear that a hike in cost will keep them from several different forms of Naloxone.  Already, prices have increased.  In February of last year one manufacturer increased the price from $575 to $4,100 per kit.

We reached out to several of the manufacturers.  Kaleo which makes the auto-injector said there’s a reason why their prices went up.  The company says when the auto-injector was first developed it was meant for doctors to give to patients who could overdose from a prescribed opioid.

It was not meant to be used by law enforcement or non-profits.  The company does have a donation program, which local municipalities hope will continue or expand.

KALEO Written Statement

Mark Herzog, VP of Corporate Affairs, kaléo: Is there anything being done to make Evzio more accessible to police departments and other first responders?

“It is important to note that EVZIO is not intended to be sold to bulk purchasers such as first responder agencies, public health departments and non-profit community groups. Although EVZIO was built to be prescribed by physicians, rather than sold to bulk purchasers, we recognize the need of these organizations and developed the kaléo Cares Product Donation program, which continues to provide EVZIO free of charge.

“We have donated more than 37,000 doses of EVZIO to public health departments, first responders and non-profits in Chicago and the surrounding counties.  To date, we have donated nearly 230,000 naloxone auto-injectors to public health departments, first responders and non-profits serving patients in need and plan to donate an additional 70,000 EVZIO auto-injectors in 2017. Through the kaléo Cares Product Donation program, we’ve received reports of more than 3,500 lives saved by EVZIO. That’s an average of more than 27 a week since the start of the program.”

What is the reason behind the price increase for Evzio?

“To support our enhanced patient access program and ensure that as many patients as possible have access to EVZIO for $0, the list price was increased in February 2016. With this enhanced access program, the out-of-pocket cost is $0 for most patients obtaining EVZIO through a prescription. No naloxone product, branded or even generic, is less expensive for commercially insured patients, or patients without insurance and incomes below $100,000 a year, than EVZIO. We are proud to report that this enhanced patient access program is working, with three times as many EVZIO prescriptions being filled by patients compared to before the enhanced access program was launched.”

ADAPT PHARMA Written Statement

We are proud of our pricing transparency and have never changed or increased the price of NARCAN® Nasal Spray since its initial approval and commercial launch in February 2016. This includes the first-known Public Interest Price for NARCAN® Nasal Spray, $75 per carton (2 devices delivering 4mg HCl each), which is a 40% discount off of the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of $125 per carton. The Public Interest Price is intended for qualifying government or nonprofit organizations, including law enforcement, harm reduction groups, schools and community centers.

Affordability and access to NARCAN® Nasal Spray are important priorities for ADAPT Pharma, and we have partnered with all major wholesalers, distributors, and retail pharmacies to ensure broad-based availability. For groups and individuals, like friends, family, and loved ones of those susceptible to an opioid-related overdose, we have collaborated with major Pharmacy Benefits Managers and insurance companies (including Medicaid) to ensure 94% of insured lives in the US have coverage for NARCAN® Nasal Spray. According to IMS Health, nearly three quarters (73%) of prescriptions for NARCAN® Nasal Spray have a co-pay of $10 or less. For those paying cash, ADAPT Pharma has partnered with retail pharmacies to reduce out of pocket costs.

Adapt Pharma did receive the Senators’ letter and has since responded to their inquiries.  We will not provide the details of our response out of respect for their inquiry process. We remain committed to transparent pricing and sustaining affordable access to NARCAN® Nasal Spray. We plan to continue our work and open communication with these Senators, their colleagues and staff to ensure patients and their families receive uninterrupted access to important medications like naloxone.

Since becoming commercially available, Adapt has donated more than 50,000 doses of NARCAN® Nasal Spray to law enforcement, harm reduction groups and other community-based organizations since its approval to support their efforts in addressing this epidemic. In April 2017, Adapt Pharma partnered with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative to donate 20,000 cartons (40,000 doses) of NARCAN® to colleges and universities throughout the United States, in addition to the Free NARCAN® Nasal Spray for High Schools Program, which has distributed approximately 3,300 free doses of NARCAN® Nasal Spray to high schools in 33 states so far.