April 21, 2023 — Emergent BioSolutions says it hopes the price of its over-the-counter nasal spray Narcan – an opioid overdose reversal medication – will likely be lower than $50 for one carton of two 4-milligram doses.
Emergent mentioned its objective is to make the OTC retail value “constant” with the worth the corporate prices public curiosity teams, which averages lower than $50 per bundle. However the precise retail value will likely be set by particular person retailers, Emergent mentioned in a information launch.
The FDA authorised OTC Narcan on March 29, however Emergent didn’t present a price at the moment. Emergent mentioned it anticipates the drug will likely be offered in shops and on-line by late summer season.
That $50 value can be lower than the corporate’s present wholesale acquisition value value of $125, Emergent mentioned. Nonetheless, the drug can be too costly for many individuals who would profit from it, well being specialists instructed NBC Information.
“It’s unlikely that almost all people will drop $40 to $50 on Narcan,” mentioned Michael Barnett, MD, affiliate professor of well being coverage and administration on the Harvard T.H. Chan College of Public Well being. “They’re additionally prioritizing hire, meals, and likewise paying for opioids, which we would like them to lower.”
The drug is now accessible by prescription and without spending a dime at public well being departments and neighborhood facilities. Some pharmacy chains make the drug accessible with out prescription, however shoppers need to ask a pharmacist to dispense it. Medical insurance normally doesn’t cowl nonprescription medication, and it’s not identified if an exception will likely be made for Narcan.
« There’s an inevitable stress when medication like Narcan are authorised for over-the-counter sale, » Larry Levitt, the manager vice chairman for well being coverage at KFF, instructed NBC Information. « These medication grow to be extra accessible over-the-counter, but additionally mockingly dearer for sufferers in lots of circumstances if insurance coverage doesn’t cowl them. »
It’s hoped Narcan will assist stem the variety of deadly opioid overdoses, estimated at 1000,000 per 12 months in the US.