In 2014, over 28,600 people died of opiate overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via the Daily Beast.
We actually have an antidote for this, and have for 30 years. There is a drug, called Narcan, that can stop the effects of an overdose while it is happening. This can save thousands of lives per year. It now costs $3,750 for two injections, according to Politico.
The FDA can’t do anything about it because they have,
“…no legal authority to investigate or control the prices charged for marketed drugs.”
That is not the only bad thing going on with Narcan, known also by its generic name, naloxone. The governor of Maine, Paul LePage, banned the life-saving drug because he didn’t think it saved lives. According to Think Progress, that’s because:
“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”
He thinks the law:
“…[is] creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”
Attorney General Maura Healy in Massachusetts started an investigation into one pharmaceutical company manufacturing the drug, which ended up paying the state a $325,000 settlement.
She put that money into a trust fund for doses of the drug, and told the Daily Beast:
“Opiates now take more lives in our state than car accidents and guns combined, so we have been working hard to make Narcan more accessible to all those who want it.”
This is not the first case of drug price-gouging this year. A cancer drug was price-gouged earlier:
“In the United States, the average price of new cancer drugs increased 5- to 10-fold over 15 years, to more than $100,000 per year in 2012. A study by Howard et al documented the escalation in cancer drug prices by an average of $8500 a year over the past 15 years. The cost of drugs for each additional year lived (after adjusting for inflation) has increased from $54,000 in 1995 to $207,000 in 2013.”