It’s like déjà vu all over again. Kaiser Health News reports that an increasingly popular, life-saving medication – this time, an antidote for opioid overdoses – is dramatically increasing in price.
Fortunately, our pharmacy, GenoRite, has a more reasonably priced alternative called Opi Aid.
Remember the AIDS treatment with a price tag that jumped 5,000 percent? The Mylan Epi-Pen for allergic reactions that sextupled in price over several years? This time, it’s a product called Evzio – which wasn’t cheap at a cost of $690 for a twin pack back in 2014.
Now, it’s is retailing for $4,500.
Critics said Evzio is an expensive auto-injector (like the Epi-Pen) that delivers a fairly inexpensive drug – in this case, naloxone, which reverses overdoses of prescribed painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or morphine – as well as heroin, the illegal drug often used as a cheaper substitute by patients who become addicted to prescriptions. Overall, the CDC warns this is “an epidemic” – opioid overdose now is the No. 1 cause of injury fatalities in America, surpassing motor vehicle crashes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports.
Evzio’s maker told Kaiser Health News the high cost “is worth the price” because it comes with a talking device that details how to jab an overdosed patient correctly and leave the injector in for the right amount of time.
Opi-Aid, GenoRite Pharmacy’s alternative, doesn’t come with any cool audio device. You must make due with written instructions.
But GenoRite’s Opi-Aid is a nasal spray. No needles, no timeframes to remember. It’s pretty much what you expect: point the nozzle inside an overdose victim’s nose and squeeze. Easier for first responders, family members, significant others or good Samaritans trying to save someone’s life.
Dr. Matthew McCarty of Balcones Pain Consultants recommends Opi-Aid be kept on hand by the family and significant others for those at high risk of overdose on opioids or those who’ve recently completed drug rehab. Opi-Aid is stable for six months and available by standing order.