You can die a hero, or live long enough to become a drug-pricing villain.
Or at least that seems to be the message from the latest biopharma price hike scuffle between the much-maligned Mylan (MYL) Pharmaceuticals and its bigger EpiPen competitor, Kaléo. As Kaléo tries to claw its way into the EpiPen sales Mylan lost after its massive price hike (and Congressional investigation), there are new reservations about the company’s own pricing practices.
More than 30 U.S. Senators signed a letter Wednesday to call Kaléo out for hiking the list price of an opioid overdose medication-injecting device called Evzio, going from $690 for a two-pack in 2014 to $4,500 for the same quantity today. Even the company’s Auvi-Q device, a high-tech epinephrine injector, has a list price ranging in the thousands, which means that much of its cost is shifted to insurance companies even while customers pay a far lower price.
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The Senators who signed the letter—many of whom represent states where the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic has taken a particularly devastating toll—expressed outrage that a company would hike the price of a life-saving therapy that’s in particularly high demand right now.
Kaléo continues to argue that its patient assistance efforts, including steep patient discounts and minimal out-of-pocket costs, justify outsize list prices for its products.