U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, has recently sent a letter to Maryland State officials asking them to negotiate the price reduction of a life-saving treatment for heroin overdose.
Amphastar is a company that produces Naloxone, a opioid antagonist which can counter the effects of heroin overdose. The treatment is sometimes also used by local and state officers in emergency situations they encounter on the field.
However the antidote’s price has been rising and can now cost around $41 which is more than twice what state officials were paying in June 2014. This situation is caused partially by the increasing demand due to the rise in heroin use.
With heroin use, addiction and deaths, the treatment is now more necessary than ever, and state officials have to buy increased stocks from the private medication manufacturer Amphstar.
But Democrat leader Elijah Cummings sees this increase in price as an attempt to overcharge customers including the state. He asks Maryland state officials to try and renegotiate the bulk price the state now pays.
Cummings also warns that this kind of price increase could jeopardize the state’s efforts to decrease the number of fatalities connected with heroin overdoses. He also says that the Governor of Maryland should do as other states like Ohio did and negotiate rebates.
The increasing prices have been noticed by local law enforcement agencies who have turned to Rep. Cummings for a solution. In return he took several measures one of which was to ask the drug manufacturer Amphstar to provide information about revenue, manufacturing and profits.
The U.S. Rep. is most likely trying to assert if the company had any motives in increasing prices other than boosting profits. The main issue is that Amphstar makes the most commonly used variant of this anti-overdose treatment by the local and state authorities.
The huge spike in heroin related deaths as well as the increase in heroin use and overdoses, only reinforces the need for the treatment as well as expanding the number of units the state regularly buys.
Amphstar has tried to blame the increase in their product’s price on distributors two months ago, but this did not hinder the congressional probe into the company’s affairs.
Image Source: hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com