Kaléo to produce generic version of drug device
A Richmond-based private pharmaceutical firm is drastically dropping the price for an auto-injector medication that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Evzio, which is approved by the FDA, provides step-by-step guidance to users of the handheld device in administering the drug naloxone.
In mid-2019, Kaléo will offer a generic version of Evzio for $178 for a two-unit kit. The list price for Evzio is currently $4,100.
A November segment on the CBS news show “60 Minutes” scrutinized the recent jump in Evzio’s list price from about $575.
Omar Khalil, Kaléo’s general manager for addiction and neurology, says the price hike was an effort to increase accessibility to Evzio through insurance companies.
In the year before the price hike, the company distributed only 5,000 units of Evzio, Khalil says. After the price increase, that number increased to 66,000 units. “The move we made to increase the price actually helped access to the medication,” Khalil says.
The generic version of Evzio will be offered through IJ Therapeutics, a Kaléo subsidiary. It will have the same formulation and design as the original product, the company said in a December statement. “We’ve always been committed to affordability,” Khalil says.
The lower list price of the authorized generic product is expected to make it more affordable to Medicare Part D patients.
The goal is to remove barriers from people getting Evzio or its generic counterpart, Khalil says. “How do we get Evzio in the hands of as many people who need it?”
Evzio, launched in 2014, is available for no out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients with commercial insurance coverage, the company says.
Meanwhile, Kaléo began a program in December that provides Evzio to first responders at $178 per unit of two auto-injectors. The program is also available to government agencies, health departments and other qualifying groups when they purchase directly from Kaléo or authorized distributors.
Khalil says that since the launch of the program, the company has provided several thousand Evzio units to first responders and other agencies.
The company also has donated 350,000 auto-injectors across the nation, which has helped save 5,500 lives, Khalil says.
“With approximately 130 people dying daily from opioid overdoses, we recognize that more needs to be done to improve access for patients,” Spencer Williamson, president and CEO of Kaléo, said in a statement.