Clinton Foundation Announces Initiative To Make Naloxone Devices More Affordable

By McCarton Ackerman 01/28/15

The former president is trying to make opioid antidotes like naloxone more available and affordable.

Bill Clinton

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have stepped up to make anti-opioid overdose drugs more affordable and accessible to Americans.

The Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative has officially partnered with Kaleo for the project. Kaleo is the pharmaceutical company that invented Evzio, a device which administers naloxone as an auto-injectible. Although it costs $30 out of pocket for people with insurance or coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, the VA or TriCare, one unit of Evzio can cost up to $575 for people without health coverage.

Through the joint partnership, Evzio will be available at much lower costs to universities, colleges, community organizations, and local police and emergency authorities. It is expected that the cost will be similar to the federal supply schedule pricing, which is the lowest possible cost that a federal institution would pay for the device.

“[It’s] something which I think will save a lot of lives,” said Bill at a panel session during the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Summit.

Although Kaleo CEO Spencer Williamson declined to reveal the amount of the discount on the product, he said the goal of the project is to save 10,000 lives per year over the next five years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 16,000 people died from opioid drug overdoses in 2013, an increase of 1% from 2012.

The portable Evzio device actually speaks to users who are administering the medication by reciting instructions on how to do so. Research from Kaleo has found that 90% of individuals successfully used the product without any previous training and 100% of those who were trained used it successfully.

“We have seen physicians very much embrace the product,” said Williamson. “They see it as a way to really empower patients and their families to manage their challenging medical conditions,” said Williamson.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia now have some form of access law for naloxone, compared to 18 states in 2013 and just eight in 2012. Eight states have also passed laws allowing emergency officials and members of the public to more easily administer the drug, while three states have passed Good Samaritan laws that allow those with the victim to call 911 without being prosecuted for a drug crime.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.