US senators prod Pfizer on worth surge of key drug used to deal with opioid overdoses

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Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, makes an opening statement during a Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance subcommittee hearing with Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors Co. (GM), not pictured, in Washington, D.C.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, makes a gap assertion throughout a Senate Shopper Safety, Product Security, and Insurance coverage subcommittee listening to with Mary Barra, chief government officer of Common Motors Co. (GM), not pictured, in Washington, D.C.

The Senate Getting old Committee has requested pharmaceutical large Pfizer for details about hovering costs for the generic drug naloxone, used to reverse the consequences of an opioid overdose.

The drug’s worth rose from $45 for a set of 10 vials in 2009 to $263.88 in early 2014—a rise of just about 600 p.c, earlier than settling to $189.96, CNBC reported in September.

“Drug overdoses are actually the main reason for unintended demise in america, many associated to misuse or abuse of prescription opioids,” Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill wrote in a letter to Pfizer CEO Ian Learn dated Nov. 28, a replica of which was obtained by CNBC.

Pfizer gained naloxone when it acquired Hospira for $17 billion in 2015. The senators stated they’d already acquired 2015-2016 pricing info on the drug from Pfizer, in response to an earlier letter.

“Clarify, intimately, the quantity and quantity of worth will increase and reduces taken by Hospira between 2009 and 2014 for naloxone,” the senators wrote.

Additionally they requested for particulars on how Hospira got here to the choice to lift the value, in addition to how a lot the will increase contributed to analysis and growth into enhancing the product, and whether or not any problems with affected person entry arose.

In response to an inquiry from CNBC, Pfizer defended its pricing, saying the drug’s price was “priced responsibly” in a press release.

“From the time Naloxone entered our portfolio…our focus has been on offering entry to this life saving remedy and we consider it’s priced responsibly at a wholesale acquisition price (WAC) worth of $15.83 per dose for the one dose vial, and $11.87 per dose for the multidose vial (10 doses in a vial),” the assertion learn.

“Pfizer’s Naloxone Entry Program features a donation of as much as 1 million doses of Naloxone over 4 years and $1 million in opioid overdose grants to a number of states.”

Pfizer is not the one maker of naloxone. Different formulations and supply techniques are in the marketplace, together with an auto injector referred to as Evzio from non-public producer Kaleo that prices virtually $four,000 for 2 doses.

Collins and McCaskill wrote letters to 5 producers in June inquiring about worth will increase.

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Natalia Camp

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