60 Minutes Highlights Portman’s Investigative Report on Drug Manufacturer Profiting Off Taxpayers During Opioid Crisis

November 19, 2018 | Press Releases

A new report that aired last night on CBS News’ 60 Minutes highlighted the findings of a new investigative report released by Senator Rob Portman, who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), into the cost of naloxone – the prescription drug used to revive individuals who overdose on opioids. 

The new PSI report details how drug manufacturer kaléo exploited the opioid crisis by increasing the price of its naloxone drug EVZIO by more than 600 percent by 2016 (from the initial price of $575 per unit in 2014 to $3,750 in 2016 and then to $4,100 in 2017), launching a new distribution model planning to “capitalize on the opportunity” of “opioid overdose at epidemic levels.”  The company’s sales force focused on ensuring doctors’ offices signed necessary paperwork indicating that EVZIO was medically necessary, ensuring the drug would be covered by government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  The plan worked, resulting in increased costs to taxpayers, to date, totaling more than $142 million in just the last four years, despite the fact that less costly versions of naloxone exist.

Here is the video from 60 Minutes:

Naloxone is a critically important overdose reversal drug that our first responders have used to save tens of thousands of lives.  Portman made clear in a statement last night that: “The fact that one company dramatically raised the price of its naloxone drug and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in increased drug costs, all during a national opioid crisis no less, is simply outrageous.  The Subcommittee will continue its efforts to protect taxpayers from drug manufacturers that are exploiting loopholes in the Medicare and Medicaid system in order to profit from a national opioid crisis.”