Sanders and Cummings Request Information on Price Increases for Drug that Police Use to Treat Overdoses

Mar 2, 2015
Press Release

Sanders and Cummings Request Information on Price Increases for Drug that Police Use to Treat Overdoses 

Reports Indicate Drug Spiking by 50 Percent or More


Washington, D.C. (March 2, 2015)—As a part of an ongoing investigation into recent price increases for generic drugs, Senator Bernard Sanders, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the CEO of Amphastar Pharmaceuticals requesting information about the increasing prices the company has been charging for naloxone, an antidote used by police departments across the country to treat life-threatening opiate overdoses.

“Over the past several months, police departments, law enforcement agencies, and public health officials across the country have warned about the increasing price of naloxone, which they use to combat the scourge of heroin abuse,” the Members wrote. 

Earlier this month, the Attorney General of New York announced that Amphastar agreed, after significant public pressure, to provide a rebate of $6 per dose to agencies within New York.  This action followed reports that “police and public health officials from New York to San Francisco are facing sticker shock:  Prices for a popular form of the medication, naloxone, are spiking, in some cases by 50 percent or more.”

“Although we are encouraged by your stated willingness to work with other states, it remains unclear why your company has not already lowered its prices in states other than New York,” the Members wrote.  “The rapid increase in the cost of this life-saving medication in such a short time frame is a significant public health concern.”

The Members requested that the company provide information from 2012 to the present, including total gross revenues from sales of the drugs, prices paid for the drug, factors that contributed to decisions to increase the prices, and the identity of the company officials responsible for setting drug prices.

Last year, Cummings and Sanders launched an investigation into recent price increases for generic drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses and to identify measures to help reduce costs for patients, healthcare providers, and hospitals across the country.  Sanders held a hearing on this issue last fall, where Cummings testified alongside several other witnesses.

Click here to see a full copy of the letter. 

114th Congress