CVS discounts naloxone for people without insurance

Photo credit: hattiesburgmemory - Wikimedia Commons

Will also dispense drug in 31 states without a prescription

CVS Health says it is teaming with Adapt Pharma to offer the opioid overdose antidote naloxone nasal spray at a special discount for people without prescription drug coverage.

The company said patients without insurance will get a $35 discount, reducing the out-of-pocket expense of the drug by nearly 25%.

The brand name of the drug is NARCAN, which CVS says is the only FDA-approved, ready-to-use nasal formulation of naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose. The drug has been in demand as the rise in opioid addiction has led to an increasing number of overdose deaths and injuries.

The product comes in a box containing two units, with both units delivering a concentrated 4mg dose of active medication-naloxone hydrochloride- in a .1ml mist.

"Having a ready-to-use dose of naloxone in a nasal spray device makes administration of this life-saving medication quick and easy for friends and families of loved ones struggling with addiction in an emergency overdose situation," said Tom Davis, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Health.

Rural states have struggled

While drug addiction is usually thought of as an urban problem, several rural states have been particularly hard hit by opioid addiction. The Maine legislature has approved a series of measures to reform prescription practices after a spike in overdose deaths in the last two years from common prescription painkillers, including the powerful synthetic painkiller fentanyl.

“Too many painkillers are being diverted from legitimate medical uses,” said Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. “An analysis by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found that only 7% of those who died of a prescription medication overdose in 2015 had a doctor’s prescription at the time of their death.”

A National Institutes of Healh (NIH) study has found that naloxone, which has been used by first responders for over 30 years, is effective at reversing the effects of a drug overdose. It further concluded that family members of victims, who are often the first to encounter the victim, are best positioned to administer it.

Using a physician's standing order or collaborative practice agreement, CVS will soon start providing naloxone in 31 states without a prescription. Now, the drug chain says it will also be more affordable.

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