Sen. Donnelly questions overdose drug price hike

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- A pharmaceutical company is under fire after the price of its lifesaving heroin-overdose drug has jumped by several thousand dollars. The company in question is Kaléo Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures a product called Evzio.

It’s an FDA-approved auto-injector device loaded with naloxone, a drug being used more and more often to stop opioid overdoses. The company has now raised the price of Evzio from around $690 three years ago to $4500 currently.

Now Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D), along with almost thirty of his colleagues, is demanding answers.

“It’s pricing by hostage taking,” said Donnelly.

He is among 29 U.S. Senators, all Democrats along with one Independent, to send a letter to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals Wednesday demanding an explanation for the price hike.

This is similar to the outrage seen over the price hike of the Epi-Pen a few months back. Some say that Kaléo is trying to make a quick buck off the country’s current heroin epidemic. For Linda Ostewig, losing people to heroin has become a painful routine.

“We’re going to bury one on Friday,” said Ostewig, “he overdosed on Sunday this week.”

She runs an addiction help center, The Landing, in Greenfield, and is now worried about the extreme price hike of the life-saving drug.

“I think they don’t care about life,” said Ostewig, “and if you care about life then you wouldn’t raise that amount up.”

Evzio is more often used by individuals, as opposed to law enforcement or medical professionals. Ostewig says it’s not uncommon for opioid addicts or one of their loved ones to keep some form of naloxone in their home. She worries with a price hike like this, many struggling with heroin addiction will be left without a fast-acting lifeline close by.

“This is about more than just a shot, this is about humans,” said Ostewig, “this is about their lives.”

Fox59 News did reach out to Kaléo for comment but have so far not heard back. We also spoke to several central Indiana counties to see if their emergency personal will be impacted by this price hike, but none of the counties we spoke with use the form of naloxone manufactured by Kaléo.

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