Maker of Opioid Overdose Drug Aiming for $50 OTC Price



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

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

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 consultants 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 Faculty of Public Well being. “They’re additionally prioritizing lease, meals, and likewise paying for opioids, which we would like them to lower.”

The drug is now out there by prescription and totally free at public well being departments and group facilities. Some pharmacy chains make the drug out there with out prescription, however customers 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 pressure when medication like Narcan are accepted for over-the-counter sale,” Larry Levitt, the manager vp for well being coverage at KFF, instructed NBC Information. “These medication turn into extra accessible over-the-counter, but additionally satirically 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.