Delivering Results: After Portman-Led Investigation, Drug Manufacturer Lowers Prices for Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug

December 17, 2018 | Portman Difference

In the midst of a national opioid epidemic, why would a drug manufacturer increase the price of its life-saving overdose reversal drug by more than 600 percent?  After a year-long investigation, Senator Portman, the chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, issued a report on November 18 into why kaléo increased the price of its naloxone drug EVZIO from $575 to $4,100 in just two-and-a-half years – all despite recommendations from experts that it lower the price.  Less than one month after the investigation was released – and after a significant public outcry – the company reversed course last week and reduced the price from $4,100 per unit down to $178.  Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor last week about this investigation and the results it delivered.  Below are excerpts of stories highlighting the impact of Senator Portman’s work to reduce the price of this life-saving drug: 

  • “A Virginia drug company that hiked the price of its opioid overdose reversal drug by more than 600 percent to ‘capitalize on the opportunity’ will cut its price after an investigative report released by Sen. Rob Portman accused the company of profiteering from the opioid crisis.”“Drug company lowers price of overdose remedy after Sen. Rob Portman accused it of gouging,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 12, 2018 
  • “A drug manufacturer that produces a life–saving opioid overdose drug will reduce the price of that drug after two senators — one from Ohio — complained that the company was gouging customers.  Sen. Rob Portman, R–Ohio, and Sen. Tom Carper, D–Delaware, found in a Nov. 18 report that drug manufacturer kaléo increased the price of its naloxone drug Evzio by more than 600 percent by 2016, jacking up the drug from its initial price of $575 per unit in July 2014 to $3,750 in February 2016, then finally to $4,100 in January 2017.  On Wednesday, weeks after news media including 60 Minutes reported on the findings of the senators’ report, kaléo announced it was introducing a generic version of its naloxone auto-injector that would cost $178.”“Drug company that Rob Portman accused of price gouging will lower price of naloxone,” Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2018 
  • “A Virginia drugmaker said Wednesday that it will roll out a far cheaper, generic version of its overdose-reversing naloxone, one month after Senate investigators accused the company of capitalizing on the U.S. opioid epidemic by dramatically hiking its price.  The announcement was made just weeks after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations, in a CBS “60 Minutes” expose, accused Kaleo of making a profit off the opioid crisis.”“Naloxone maker rolls out cheaper generic, after pricing outcry,” The Washington Times, December 12, 2018 
  • “A month after the drug maker Kaleo came under fire from lawmakers and public-health advocates for charging $4,100 for a device that reverses overdoses, the company has announced it will introduce a generic version for a small fraction of the price.”“Kaleo, maker of $4,100 overdose antidote, authorizes a generic version for just $178,” STAT News, December 12, 2018 
  • “Between the lines: This announcement follows an investigative report by Sens. Rob Portman and Tom Carper that found Kaléo increased the price of EVZIO by more than 600% since it went to market in 2014.”“There’s a new generic version of naloxone,” Axios, December 12, 2018 
  • “A report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last month found that the company, Kaléo, hiked the price of its drug Evzio to $4,100 for two injectors, raising the price by more than 600 percent between 2014 and 2017.  After this scrutiny, the company on Wednesday announced that it will offer a cheaper generic version of the drug for $178 for two injectors. … The investigation last month was led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Tom Carper (D-Del.).”“Drug company to offer cheaper opioid overdose treatment after hiking price 600 percent,” The Hill, December 12, 2018 
  • “A Big Pharma company is lowering the price of its opioid overdose drug after getting dragged through the mud by a pair of senators.”Calling out big Pharma for trying to profit off the opioid crisis actually worked,” Splinter News, December 12, 2018 
  • “A company plans to drastically reduce the price of a device used to administer the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone after Senator Rob Portman helped launch an investigation into a 600% price hike. Senators Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE), the chairman and ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations announced on Wednesday that drug manufacturer kaléo planned to take steps to reduce the price of its naloxone auto-injector to $178, down from $4,100 per unit.”“Company to reduce price of opioid reversal device,” WFMJ Youngstown, December 12, 2018


  • “In a release highlighting the announcement, Portman called it ‘a positive step forward.’ ‘I’m hopeful that it will increase access to naloxone, a critically–important overdose reversal drug that has saved tens of thousands of lives,’ he said. He and Carper are the chair and ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The subcommittee found in their November 2018 report that the company had launched a new distribution model that hoped to “capitalize on the opportunity” of ‘opioid overdose at epidemic levels.’”“Under pressure, drugmaker lowering price of $4,000 overdose drug,” WCPO Cincinnati, December 12, 2018 
  • “A generic version of an overdose-reversing auto-injector will be available next year for a fraction of the brand-name product's list cost, the pharmaceutical company that makes the devices announced Wednesday.  The move comes on the heels of a congressional report that found Virginia-based Kaleo had raised the price of its Evzio take-home naloxone kit by more than 600 percent as the nation was in the throes of the opioid crisis.” – “Price of Naloxone Device to Plummet,” U.S. News & World Report, December 12, 2018 
  • “Almost a month after a U.S. Senate report detailed how kaléo exploited the opioid epidemic by significantly increasing the price of its EVZIO naloxone, the company has announced it is reducing its price. … The Portman-chaired Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released its report last month that showed that kaléo increased the price of EVZIO by more than 600 percent …”“Kaléo cuts price of naloxone after Senate report details price hike,” The News Herald, December 12, 2018 
  • “The investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is under the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, uncovered how Kaléo ‘exploited the opioid crisis by increasing the price of its naloxone drug Evzio by more than 600 percent by 2016,’ according to Chairman Rob Portman, a Republican of Ohio. The subcommittee’s report said the higher cost was a result of a new distribution model to ‘capitalize on the opportunity of opioid overdoses at epidemic levels.’” – “Kaléo to offer lower-priced opioid antidote,” CNN, December 12, 2018 
  • “Pharmaceutical company Kaleo announced Wednesday that it will release a more affordable generic version of its opioid overdose reversal drug next year following lawmakers’ criticism of the high price as the country fights the opioid epidemic,”Drug Manufacturer Announces Cheaper, Generic Opioid Antidote,” CQ News, December 12, 2018