Opioid Overdoses ~130 every day, the capacity of a Boeing 737 – naloxone $4,500, up from $690 in 2014. You pay


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LA Times reports

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As need grows for painkiller overdose treatment, companies raise prices

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$4,500

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$4,500.

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$4,500 for naloxone manufactured by Kaleo, Richmond Virginia. Naloxone reverses opioid overdose.

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That seems to be their Evzio two-pack, two single-use injectors of naloxone in a hard case handy to carry in a pocket for someone who has an opioid overdose.

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Each has a 0.4 mg injection that last 2 or 3 minutes each, just long enough to call an ambulance.

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A drug that costs pennies, sold as a 2-pack for $690 in 2014, then $900, now $4,500 as of Feb. 1.

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“…Columbus, Ohio, said the city’s firefighters last year used 2,250 naloxone doses, or about 6 doses a day — at a cost of $147,000. Recently, Columbus also stocked the drug in 115 police cruisers….”

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FDA approved Evzio in April 2014 after granting fast-track status. Fast track now means gold mine status. 

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Naloxone was first approved in 1971.

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“In July 2005 its average wholesale price for a vial of the injectible drug was $1.10, according to Truven Health Analytics.

By 2014, the price was almost $19 a vial.” 

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Medical costs are astronomical, insurance premiums are up, insurance deductibles are $5,000 to $10,000 for many. Police, fire department and EMT’s are using naltrexone to save lives and lower ER visits.

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Taxes are high. Where is the initiative and innovation among EMT’s, police, fire? How many hours per day do they get paid full salary to work out at the gym and stay fit while they sit and wait for the next call to rescue an addict who overdosed. Then retire on double pensions if they hold two city jobs. While they wait for next calls, could they not fill syringes from a vial of naloxone? How much do taxpayers pay for these overpriced robotic filled syringes at factories.

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Pharma is raking it in. Pharma’s blood sucking 1% are overdosing on costs. Many of my patients with intractable pain who are on opioids were not able to afford $690. They are not addicts but any dose of opioid can kill. Your tax dollar pays for naloxone for addicts found dead, unresponsive.

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We are all paying a fortune for inexcusable pharma costs. Costs for millions of drug addicts all over the country. Costs for prescription medications. Congress unwilling to address anything that would cut the flow of donations to their coffers from pharma.

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Just remember, in Israel, it is illegal for corporate lobbyists to contact any politician.

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“Late last year, Adapt introduced a naloxone nasal spray named Narcan for a average wholesale price of $150 for two units, according to Truven.”

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That is a BD syringe fitted with a flared BD adapter at the tip to fit the nostril. It requires the user be capable of pushing the 1 mL syringe so the liquid is sprayed into nostril.

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For Pete’s sake. I’ve been prescribing medicine in these BD syringes with nasal adapter for years. Is there no EMT smart enough to make and stock their own supply to use for emergencies?

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“…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.
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…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.
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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.
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“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.

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 …Mylan, which sells a vial [how many doses per vial?] for an average wholesale price of $23.70, according to Truven and Adapt Pharma of Dublin, Ireland.”

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only.

It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment

provided by a qualified health care provider.

Relevant comments are welcome.

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2 Responses to “Opioid Overdoses ~130 every day, the capacity of a Boeing 737 – naloxone $4,500, up from $690 in 2014. You pay”

  1. Jon wheeler Says:

    Hello again,

    I’ve been paying close attention to the changes as they come (almost monthly), and one statistic keeps coming up….the number of opioid overdoses.

    The numbers are beyond car accidents, cancer deaths, you name it.

    One thing I’ve learned over my years in the technical field, statistics need context.

    How many of these opioid overdoses are truly due to that drug alone? Not mixed with alcohol, cocaine, benzodiazepines, you name it. How many are on purpose? (Suicide because of the loss of so many parts of your life that comes with chronic pain? I can attest to that as in the past 25 years I’ve barely kept my life together because I’m always missing out on the fun parts of life, the outdoors, my sport (ice hockey), the loss of friendships as people can’t understand my moodiness at times or reluctance to participate in trips, games, or just going out Friday night. It gets lonely being in pain. Especially pain people can’t see? How many od’s are accidentally getting the wrong pill bottle, or someone not opioid tolerant but in severe pain taking one pill a little too soon?

    My point is that if we go by one statistic, we should be scheduling fast food as a schedule 3 or even 2 drug.

    Many take opioids to get the euphoria and have an addiction. Addiction tends to escalate until someone is in the ER or the morgue, but those with well documented cases of chronic pain are suffering as the pendulum is swinging far to the side of under-medicating, getting cut off cold turkey, going broke playing the monthly pain specialist appointment game, and just suffering further indignities of being labeled an addict for taking a couple Norco each day.

    I thought the national pharmacy database along with new prescribing rules for doctors would be a good compromise, but many doctors are terrified to write a single script for a well know, documented condition.

    I’ve been hearing stories of the DEA and FDA shutting down practices and even arresting doctors, many who are following the rules.

    So…what am I not understanding here?

    I have chronic severe pain in the back from decades of abuse and countless accidents. I have one lumbar disc that remains intact, the others bulged, degenerated, and in one case, missing. Is it all in my head and I just need to suck it up?

    Maybe I’m a fool and naive. I’m certainly being treated as such.

    And yes, I am religious with my diet, physical therapy, appointments, heat and cold therapy, traction belt….blah blah.

    And sorry, I haven’t commented on the drug pricing. I suppose it is partly supply and demand, but the pharmaceutical companies knew years ahead where this was going. They had plenty of time to increase production and keep prices reasonable.

    Jon, over and out.

    :-/p

    • Nancy Sajben MD Says:

      They don’t care. Opioids are the annointed ****BAD****guy. This will not change for a very long time. We are in a purge that varies from doctor to doctor, and no doubt varies from city to city with every DEA agent.

      Alcohol with opioids can be deadly. But prohibition of alcohol only made alcoholism worse and mafia took over.

      Opioids can kill even at lowest possible doses, they say. So far in 41 years of medicine, I have not caused death in anyone.

      Stay tuned. Hopefully in next few days as time permits I will be posting very interesting studies.
      Congress is irrational to continue cannabis as Schedule I – illegal for deep relaxation of mind and body, pain, sleep, nausea.

      Feds just raided and shut down a high CBD production plant for Charlotte’s Web in Sonoma – famously known to help little children with hundreds of seizures daily. Yet it is being shipped from Boulder Colorado and available at nutrition stores in Hawaii and elsewhere. Charlotte’s Web alone should be legalized nationwide ASAP without any delay. High CBD blocks the psychoactive component of THC.


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