WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Escalating prices of the drug naloxone may threaten efforts to reduce opioid-related deaths across America, a team from Yale University and the Mayo Clinic warns.
The research team called attention to skyrocketing prices for the lifesaving antidote, noting:Hospira (a Pfizer Inc. company) charges $142 for a 10-pack of naloxone — up 129 percent since 2012. Amphastar’s 1 milligram version of naloxone is used off-label as a nasal spray. It’s priced around $40 — a 95 percent increase since September 2014. Newer, easier-to-use formulations are even more expensive — a two-dose package of Evzio (naloxone) costs $4,500, an increase of more than 500 percent over two years.
Naloxone is part of a wave of precipitous price hikes affecting old and new medicines. These drugs include Mylan’s EpiPen injectors for life-threatening allergic reactions and insulin for diabetes made by Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi U.S.
“The challenge is as the price goes up for naloxone, it becomes less accessible for patients,” said Ravi Gupta, the study’s lead author.
Gupta, a fourth-year Yale medical student, with Dr. Joseph Ross of Yale and Nilay Shah of the Mayo Clinic concluded, “Taking action now is essential to ensuring that this lifesaving drug is available to patients and communities.”
Overdose deaths from prescription opioid painkillers have quadrupled since 1999 in the United States. More than 165,000 deaths have occurred from 1999 to 2014, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Hospital emergency departments remain the largest users of naloxone. But, in recent years, local health departments, emergency medical services and community-based organizations have been acquiring the drug to use at the scene of overdoses or to hand out to people at risk, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Several U.S. agencies have recommended boosting access to naloxone to combat prescription opioid-related deaths, the study authors noted.
Share this Post