Sunday, March 5, 2017

One Great Side Effect of the Opioid Crisis – Pharmaceutical Companies Get to Charge Outrageous Prices – Well Great for Them, Death for Victims of Overdose

33,000 Deaths a Year Just a Cost of Doing Business – For Others

The horrific opioid epidemic in the United States is producing about 33,000 corpses a year, thanks to overdosing by people who not only take drugs but also overdose.  But there are drugs that prevent death from an overdose, if you got the dough.

Called Evzio, it is used to deliver naloxone, a life-saving antidote to overdoses of opioids. More than 33,000 people are said to have died from such overdoses in 2015. And as demand for Kaleo’s product has grown, the privately held firm has raised its twin-pack price to $4,500, from $690 in 2014.

Of course other ‘greed is my profession’ entrepreneurs have blazed the way.

First came Martin Shkreli, the brash young pharmaceutical entrepreneur who raised the price for an AIDS treatment by 5,000 percent. Then, Heather Bresch, the CEO of Mylan, who oversaw the price hike for its signature EpiPen to more than $600 for a twin-pack, though its active ingredient costs pennies by comparison.

Now a small company in Richmond called Kaleo Pharma is joining their ranks. It makes an injector device that is suddenly in demand because of the nation’s epidemic use of opioids, a class of drugs that includes heavy painkillers and heroin.

And everyone wants to get in on making millions off of addiction.

And the cost of generic, injectable naloxone — which has been on the market since 1971 — has been climbing. A 10-milliliter vial sold by one of the dominant vendors costs close to $150, more than double its price from even a few years ago, and far beyond the production costs of the naloxone chemical, researchers say. The other common injectable, which comes in a smaller but more potent dose, costs closer to $40, still about double its 2009 cost.

As for the Trump administration, well don’t look for help from them anytime soon.  After all Trump’s only regret in all of this is probably that he didn’t think of it first.  And no, it is not true that these companies partner with drug cartels to increase the availability and use of addictive drugs that can kill, although it sure sounds like a great business stategy for them.  No capital required, just a lack of morals.

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