The price of a medication that can reverse a drug overdose has doubled over the past year. Now Rhode Island will be getting a small break in the price of Narcan (the brand name for naloxone).
Narcan can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose –whether from heroin or prescription painkillers. The nasal spray or injectable costs anywhere between $30 to $60 dollars. That’s twice what it was last year, at a time when opioid overdoses are claiming more lives than car accidents.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says a new deal could help organizations that use or distribute the drug.
“I’ve reached an agreement with the Narcan manufacturer Amphasatar Pharmaceuticals," said Kilmartin, "in which the company will provide a four dollar rebate for each dose of Narcan purchased in Rhode Island.”
Massachusetts reached a deal with the manufacturer earlier this year and set up a state fund to buy the drug. Kilmartin says he’d like to do the same.
He says he has also joined his colleagues in seeking answers from the manufacturer.
“We’ve sent a letter to the company asking them to explain that. Attorney General Jeppson in Connecticut just joined that effort," Kilmartin said.
Several thousand doses of Narcan have been distributed or administered to reverse an overdose in the past year. Emergency departments hand out Narcan kits to patients who have been brought in because of a drug overdose. Emergency medical teams use Narcan at the scene of an overdose or in the ambulance before transporting a patient. And many nonprofit organizations, like the PONI program at the Miriam Hospital, distribute the kits for free.
Anyone can buy Narcan at many pharmacies in Rhode Island without a prescription.