A major pharmaceutical company previously criticized for raising prices on overdose prevention medication is now donating a large amount of the medication to volunteer rescue squads in Alabama.
Drug manufacturer Kaleo Incorporated announced a donation of 872 boxes of Evzio to be carried in state volunteer rescue vehicles. The device auto-injects the opoid overdose prevention drug naloxone and plays a voice recording that talks an untrained non-medical professional through administering the drug.
Alabama Senator Gerald Dial says “this is an unbelievable thing happening today, and it’s going to save many lives.” Dial says the donation will last Alabama about three years.
Kaleo Vice President Mark Herzog didn’t commit to extending the grant, and Senator Dial says he hopes the state legislature can find a more permanent solution before the drugs run out.
Kaleo had come under fire back in 2015 for raising the price of Evzio from $690 to $4500. Last month, the company said it would sell the drug to government agencies for $360.
A report from Blue Cross Blue Shield indicates Alabama had the most opioid prescriptions in the nation last year – more than the state’s total population. Alabama saw 756 deaths from opioid overdose in 2016, according to the CDC.