An agreement has been reached between the State of Massachusetts and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals. Amphastar Pharmaceuticals is one of the Naloxone (Narcan) manufacturers in the state. According to recent news, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals has pledged to pay $325,000 to the state to help in offsetting the cost of Naloxone, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of opiate overdose.
The move taken by the manufacturer has been seen by many as a step in the right direction. According to the Attorney General’s office, the money paid will be channeled to the State’s Municipal Naloxone Purchase Trust Fund. Amphastar Pharmaceuticals’ contribution follows the AG’s letter that was addressed to the company in February following the skyrocketing of the price of the nasal spray in late 2014.
The increase in the price of Narcan spray has made this all-important emergency life saver too expensive for first responders who are supposed to use it in opiate emergency cases. In 2014, Narcan’s wholesale price shot from $16.52 to $66.89. This high price has created a shortage of Narcan in the state. The fund will help in reversing this trend and assuring that the rescuers get access to the life-saving nasal spray.
According to State Representative, Randy Hunt, the fund should focus on dealing with opiate addiction, which had been declared a public emergency by the former governor of Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick. Hunt feels that the fund should target to make Narcan as ubiquitous as the having defibrillators and it should be placed in the hands of every rescuer and first responder out there. He argues that this medication will be used to save lives and prevent deaths that arise from opiate overdose.
Jilian Fennimore, a spokeswoman in the AG’s office noted in her email that the fund, which was initially established by the state with an initial funding of $150,000, will go a long way in enabling towns and cities to buy Naloxone directly from the State’s Department of Public Health (DPH) at the lowest cost possible. The statute establishing the State’s Municipal Naloxone Purchase Trust Fund, the DPH will utilize the funds in making bulk purchases of this opiate antagonist. The DPH will then sell this medicine to the towns and cities according to their demand.
In the past, the cities and towns bought Naloxone through private vendors and hospitals. Apparently, these sources sell the medicine at high retail prices. No longer will the cities and states buy from these sources; instead, they will buy directly from the DPH at subsidized cost.
The payment from Amphastar Pharmaceuticals will enable the DPH to buy an equivalent of 10,000 units of the opiate antagonist. Narcan, which is sold as Naloxone, is an opioid antagonist medication that is often used in reversing the effects of opioids in overdose cases.
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals’ move has been praised by officials and residents of the State of Massachusetts as this will go a long way in preventing deaths that result from opiate overdosing. The effectiveness of this nasal spray has been acknowledged by one resident who hailed the medication for saving the life of her son who was an opiate addict. She, however, lost her son early this year from heroin addiction.