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 stated its aim is to make the OTC retail worth “constant” with the value the corporate costs public curiosity teams, which averages lower than $50 per bundle. However the precise retail worth will likely be set by particular person retailers, Emergent stated in a information launch.

The FDA permitted OTC Narcan on March 29, however Emergent didn’t present a price at the moment. Emergent stated it anticipates the drug will likely be bought in shops and on-line by late summer time.

That $50 worth could be lower than the corporate’s present wholesale acquisition price worth of $125, Emergent stated. Nonetheless, the drug could be too costly for many individuals who would profit from it, well being specialists advised NBC Information.

“It’s unlikely that almost all of us will drop $40 to $50 on Narcan,” stated Michael Barnett, MD, affiliate professor of well being coverage and administration on the Harvard T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being. “They’re additionally prioritizing lease, meals, and in addition paying for opioids, which we would like them to lower.”

The drug is now accessible by prescription and without cost 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 medicine, and it’s not identified if an exception will likely be made for Narcan. 

“There’s an inevitable stress when medicine like Narcan are permitted for over-the-counter sale,” Larry Levitt, the manager vice chairman for well being coverage at KFF, advised NBC Information. “These medicine grow to be extra accessible over-the-counter, but in addition mockingly dearer for sufferers in lots of instances 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 yr in the US.

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