With his company under fire for putting a $4,000 price tag on its Evzio naloxone auto-injector, Kaleo CEO Spencer Williamson used an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday to make an offer to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers: Kaleo will drop its price if insurers and PMBs stop putting up roadblocks that prevent it from getting into the hands of those who need it.
“We want to reach out to all middlemen, all insurance companies to say, ‘We will lower this price to less than the original $575 if you will make sure that when a physician decides a patient is at risk, they can get it and they can afford it,” Williamson told ”60 Minutes.”
The Evzio auto-injector, which some would like to see co-prescribed along with opioids for patients who are deemed by doctors to be at risk for overdose, was originally priced at $575, which was to be covered by the insurers coveted by Kaleo, CBS reported. Kaleo raised the Evzio’s price by 550% after hiring a consultant with a history of engaging in similar pricing strategies with other pharmaceutical companies, according to CBS.
Williamson, Kaleo’s CEO, argued that the price was hiked to work around barriers put up by pharmacy benefit managers, and that since the increase, more prescriptions have been filled. Journalist Lesley Stahl, who reported the story for CBS, said the pricing scheme was described to her as “a legal shell game to bilk insurance companies.”
Also of note: Kaleo’s pricing for Evzio has drawn the ire of a Senate subcommittee for the burden it has placed on Medicare. Williamson denied the accusation that Kaleo has exploited “a country in the middle of an opioid crisis, but also taxpayers,” per the subcommittee’s report. He added that Kaleo has lost money in the first four years of bringing the product to market and that its pricing model is “evolving.”