Public Reactions

As mentioned in the previous post, reactions from people outside of Kaléo have been in-depth and plentiful. In fact, the price hike issue has drawn enough attention that U.S. Officials have noticed. Two Democratic Senators, Claire McCaskill and Amy Klobucher, have sent letters to Kaléo asking for a good explanation of the hike on behalf of Congress, with McCaskill’s letter ending with signatures from 30 other members of the Senate.

McCaskill said in her letter:

“At a time when Congress has worked to expand access to naloxone products and to assist state and local communities to equip first responders with this life-saving drug, this startling price hike is very concerning,” 

Claire McCaskill

Senator Claire McCaskill (D) addressing Congress (Source: aol.com)

Her concern, and the concerns of the 30 other Senators that signed her letter, are centered more around the cost of Evzio, the opioid overdose treatment, but still had complaints toward Evzio’s price tag.

The concerns over Evzio’s price comes at a time when pharmaceutical companies are facing intense scrutiny over “price-gouging”, and as lawmakers struggle with the epidemic of opioid abuse. 

It is estimated that just over 90 people each day experience a opiod overdose, which, according to experts on the issue, blame can be attributed to the lack of affordability of  prescription painkillers like Evzio and other Kaléo products.

Shefali Luthra of Kaiser Health News tries to explain the price hike to NPR’s Scott Simon in a radio interview, giving a different perspective than the popular “corporate greed”.

“Kaleo donates a decent number of these devices to first responder-type groups, police departments, public health and the anti-opiate-overdose community-based organizations. They also have a no-copay program, so if you have private insurance, you can get a coupon, and you won’t see any actual cost when you’re getting the device.”

Luthra continues to say that analysts say that this process is not sufficient. Customers might have no co-pay but it is more than likely that they will see their premiums go up for the medicine, to offset the cost that their insurance company will be paying for providing the drug. You can listen to the entirety of the interview with Luthra here.

auvi-q in court

Kaléo product being presented in Congress. (Source: businessinsider.com)

David Lazarus of the Orlando Sentinel is very unhappy with this issue of high drug prices from Kaléo. He believes that this is a case of a dishonest pharmaceutical company trying to get a huge profit margin by tricking the consumer. In particular, Lazarus takes offense to Spencer Williamson, the CEO of Kaléo saying that the sticker price of Evzio and Auvi-Q is not true to everyone, because of various discounts that are contracted with “the supply chain that makes up our healthcare system”.

“In other words, even though the price tag for his company’s easy-to-use, lifesaving device is ridiculous and indefensible, there’s no need to worry because of backroom deals by assorted players in the healthcare food chain make that price tag meaningless. And that, in a nutshell, illustrates the lunacy of the U.S. healthcare system.”

Nicholson Price, a Law Professor at the University of Michigan, says that this is just a repeat of what happened with Mylan and the epi-pen. However, he believes that right now certain institutional buyers are able to afford the Evzio and Auvi-Q because of public funding meant to combat opioid uses, but acknowledges that taxpayers will still pay for the price of the drug regardless, and that the cost of to maintain access in public funding will be felt very soon. Price notes that the fact that policy makers have not found a solution to the problem of keeping drug pricing in line with value is the root problem itself.

“Epi-Pen happened, and everyone was like, ‘Wow, this is terrible, we shouldn’t allow this to happen, and we haven’t done anything about that, and it’s not clear what the solution is. Now, shocker, it’s happening again.”

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/massive-price-hike-for-lifesaving-opioid-overdose-antidote1/

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/la-fi-lazarus-drug-pricing-evzio-20170217-story.html

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9 thoughts on “Public Reactions

  1. Pingback: My 2 Cents | Kaléo Me Crazy

  2. This was very informative!
    I definitely can agree that this problem is so much bigger then one corrupt company. The U.S. healthcare system needs a change. Also this recurring issue of the price gouging by Kaleo and Epi-pen show the lack of government regulation in this environment. The fact that this has happened before with Epi-pen, was not fixed, and now people are surprised when it happened again with Kaleo.
    The public response is just and much needed. We, as consumers, can not do much except get the attention of public officials. We can not boycott products that are NEEDED but we can get the governments attention to push them to regulate and fix this unethical decision. Maybe in the next couple years this will happen again with another drug company.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you hit the nail on the head with the U.S. healthcare system needing a change, as it has needed one for quite some time. I don’t know as if I’d call Kaléo a corrupt company as much as a selfish company, as they are providing great products but trying to squeeze as much out of it as they can. I think there is no question that something like this is going to happen again, unless changes are made very very soon.

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  3. The problem in which I agree with your post is that the taxpayer will have to pay for this drug and administer device regardless if they get a discount or not! The government should step in and regulate. The other issue that arises is that how can you boycott a product that is essential for a people in need? History repeats itself and I think without government regulation to step in, it will continue to happen with products that are an essential part in saving someones life. I wonder how the Health Care system will change with the new president.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how much the new president will impact this, nor do I really know how much influence he will have in impacting it. That being said, something needs to happen and happen soon to try and solve this issue. I think it’s an inappropriate answer to say that the customer won’t have an out of pocket cost, because, if I learned anything from economics, there are no free lunches, someone always has to pay (us as taxpayers).

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  4. It’s very sad that so many people are suffering simply because the company that makes the products that they need for health reasons is selling them at a price 45 times higher than production costs. I can see how Senator McCaskill is concerned, and I’m sure she is just waiting for Kaleo to respond and explain their reasoning as selfishness and desire for more money. It seems that either way, Kaleo has no intention of making the drug more affordable, because as Luthra explains the customers who get the drug through insurance are pretty much paying nothing. I share the same opinion as David Lazarus because I think the conduct of Kaleo is very unethical for making consumers pay such a high price without justifying it to them in an honest and understandable way. Nicholson Price is right, Kaleo is doing the same thing that Mylan did, because they can! Until the government intervenes and help solve the problem it will continue to occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is exactly like you’ve commented on another one of my posts- just because you can does not mean you should! This problem will continue to occur so long as there is nothing to stop it from happening. Lazarus makes a great point because there really is no justifiable answer to the cost for the product being so high. Kaléo has to explain in an honest way to be respected.

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  5. The US healthcare system is a mess. The providers of medical products and service can hold the public hostage until they fork over an unreasonable amount of money. The costs get inflated, salaries are huge and the profit margins are unbelievable. Kaleo is doing the same thing companies have been doing for years; holding the public hostage. There is no other option, and to develop one would be time consuming and incredibly costly due to the red tape and hurdles you have to clear. Something needs to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. I just don’t think that there is any way that Kaléo can justify its high prices, and no excuse from any company that does things like this. I couldn’t agree more that these companies hold the public hostage, and think that either the government must do something or some NGO has to assist and speak on the consumers behalf. It is just unnecessary and unethical to charge absurd amounts of hard earned dollars for a product that might keep someone alive.

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