The drug known as Narcan (naloxone) is a lifesaver. At a time when deaths from opioid overdose have reached epidemic proportions in Suffolk County, use of Narcan and training in its use have become a standard procedure for both police and ambulance staff.
The cost to the region from the rampant abuse of prescription medication has been high, too high: families ripped apart, individual lives ruined, if not ended, communities in mourning, schools and government officials struggling to address the crisis, police and EMS personnel burdened with drug-related calls for service.
For rescuers Narcan has been one way to pull a drug user back from the brink. Shame on manufacturers who saw its efficacy, its popularity, and jacked up the price.
Last week Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined with 31 other senators to demand answers from a leading pharmaceutical company about the dramatic price hike for naloxone.
According to the senator, drug maker Kaléo Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures an easy-to-use Evzio injector device containing the overdose-reversing drug, raised its price from $690 in 2014, to $4,500 currently. The inexplicable price hike "threatens to price-out families and communities that depend on naloxone to save lives," Gillibrand and the senators said.
Congress has worked to expand access to naloxone products and help equip first responders with the life saving "antidote." The massive price increase threatens that work, and lives.
Kudos to Kirsten for keeping an eye out and trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.