Virginia naloxone maker to launch generic version, drop list price by $3,922

A month after Kaleo came under fire for raising the price of its opioid antidote 600 percent to $4,100, the Virginia drugmaker announced it will launch a generic version at a fraction of the cost, according to a STAT news report.

Kaleo authorized its subsidiary, IJ Therapeutics, to manufacture a new generic version of Evzio, its naloxone injector, for $178 a kit — a $3,922 price reduction. Like the brand-name version, the generic will contain two doses.

Although the drugmaker said Evzio already is available free for most patients with private health insurance, the generic will offer broader access for Medicare beneficiaries. The new generic will be launched mid-2019, according to the report.

"With approximately 130 people dying daily from opioid overdoses, we recognize that more needs to be done to improve access for patients," Spencer Williamson, Kaleo president and CEO, told STAT.

The decision to authorize a generic version of its naloxone injector comes just one month after a a subcommittee chaired by Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman released a scathing report accusing the drugmaker of raising the price of Evzio to "capitalize on the opportunity" as the nationwide epidemic worsened.

The hefty price hikes of Evzio by Kaleo have increased costs to taxpayers by more than $142 million in the last four years, the report found.

Kaleo said it's never turned an annual profit on the drug.

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