The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow manufacturers to sell Narcan, the name-brand of the drug naloxone which is used to counter opioid overdoses, over-the-counter (OTC) is finally coming to fruition.
Consumers can expect to see the drug on pharmacy shelves and online for purchase within days.
Prior to the FDA’s approval, the drug was only available with a doctor’s prescription, limiting access and the number of people who could benefit from it. However, this decision will make it possible for more people in need of Narcan to receive it.
“As a medical professional and a mom who experienced the unthinkable and lost both of her sons to accidental overdose, I know you can’t put a price on peace of mind and there is no act too great to protect family,” Dr. Bonnie Milas, a physician at Penn Medicine, said in a statement. “Picking up Narcan Nasal Spray at the store is not a sign that your family has ‘a problem.’ In fact, it shows that you are prepared just in case.
“It’s like buying a fire extinguisher to have at home – having the power to save a life of someone you love, someone you know, or someone who may need another chance.”
“A steadfast commitment to expanding access to naloxone has always been at the forefront of our work to help save lives and we’re proud to bring Narcan Nasal Spray to many, many more places,” said Paul Williams, senior vice president at Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturer or Narcan.
Expanding access to care
Narcan will be sold in two doses of 4 mg each, and the final price will be determined by each individual retailer. However, Emergent BioSolutions said that one of its primary goals is to increase access to the drug, and that includes keeping the price point reasonable.
The drug currently has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $44.99 for two doses, or $22.50 per dose. Emergent also said it will lower that cost to $41 for two doses for all harm reduction groups, community organizations, and first responders.
So far, five major retailers have already announced they will sell Narcan in their pharmacies for $44.99: Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, and Kroger. The drug is expected to be widely available both in stores and online as the rollout begins.
“We are committed to educating and making it easier for all Americans to have this life-saving medicine available in their first aid kits in case of an emergency,” said Dr. Kevin Ban, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Walgreens.
“We all must recognize that overdoses can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, or other factors. As a leading healthcare company, providing access to OTC naloxone creates an opportunity for bystanders, friends, and family members to potentially save a life. In the event of an overdose, every second matters.”