The Governor’s office announced this week that a series of negotiations have resulted in a greatly reduced cost of the life saving drug Narcan. Narcan, which quickly reduces the life threatening effects of an opiate overdose, is noted as an important tool in the fight against what has been termed in Massachusetts as an “opiate epidemic”.
It was announced this week that Narcan is now available to all first responders at a discounted rate of $20 per dose. This is half of what the supplying drug company had increased costs to last year, resulting in an uproar from state officials, treatment professionals and family members of addicts. The decrease in cost is the result of a combined effort through the Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Trust Fund. The Fund was established as one of the responses to the commonwealth’s opiate epidemic and is funded through state funds, contributions from the drug company itself and a donation from the company that provides the nasal applicator.
Massachusetts municipalities have been paying anywhere between $33.27 and $66.89 per dose of naloxone, not including the cost of the atomizer, according to data from the Attorney General’s Office. This was a massive price increase from the original $15 of a year ago. Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, the company that produces Narcan negotiated a $325,000 contribution to the Trust Fund with Maura Healey, the Massachusetts Attorney General. Teleflex, the company that manufactures the atomization devices which allow for inhaled, rather than injected doses of the drug has agreed to provide an ample supply of the application devices free of charge. This has reduced the price of a Narcan dose from its high of over $60 to $20.
In addition to supplying first responders such as police firefighters and EMTs, 133 of 244 school districts in Massachusetts report that they now, or will by the end of the school year, make Narcan available to their students. This data became available recently from an October survey and represents a near doubling of availability of the life saving drug.
The availability of Narcan will result in many more addicts staying alive so that they may engage in ongoing treatment and possibly break free of their addiction.