Price frozen on Naloxone in Ohio

Public interest price will remain at $75

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says Adapt Pharma will freeze the Public Interest Price for its naloxone nasal spray for Ohio over the next year, and that Ohio is currently the only state in the country that has secured a price freeze with the company.

“I think its a good idea,” Lisa Roberts, RN, of the Portsmouth City Health Department, said. “In fact I wish they would just quit raising the price. It seems like every time something gets in demand, the price starts going up.”

When given to a person overdosing on opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, or a prescription opioid, naloxone can limit or stop the overdose by reversing the effects of the opioid on the brain.

“We know that there is a near constant presence of fentanyl-laced heroin in this county (Scioto),” Roberts said. “The thing about fentanyl is that it kills really quick. Normally we used to be able to say an opioid overdoes happens over a pretty long period of time. There’s plenty of time for intervention. It used to be an hour. Now it can be minutes or seconds.”

She said because of the need to give the Naloxone in such a short length of time, it is important for people to carry it at all times.

DeWine met with Adapt Pharma last week to discuss a proposal to offer the FDA-approved naloxone nasal spray to Ohio law enforcement, first responders, state and local government agencies, and community-based organizations at a discounted rate for the next year.

The Public Interest Price will apply for one year to qualified purchasers who purchase two 4 milligram doses of the nasal spray for $75, when obtained directly from Adapt Pharma in quantities greater than 48 units. That cost is a 40 percent discount from Adapt Pharma’s Wholesale Acquisition Cost of $125.

“It helps to keep it affordable but also budget-able, because people have to deal with budgets,” Roberts said. “I think it’s important to remind people at this point too that people can get NARCAN nasal spray at local pharmacies without a prescription, and it’s covered as a pharmaceutical benefit. Locally, we have Krogers and CVS. You have to ask the pharmacist, but they have a corporate protocol, so anyone can now get it and it’s paid for by medical card or if you have insurance. It’s a pharmaceutical benefit. You do not have to pay this out of your pocket.”

“The cost to purchase naloxone has prevented some agencies from carrying this life saving drug, but I hope that Adapt Pharma’s new price freeze for Ohio will allow more agencies to consider keeping naloxone on hand,” DeWine said. “I continue to urge law enforcement agencies to carry this drug, because it can mean the difference between life and death for those suffering from addiction.”

The manufacturer is very much involved in the decision to freeze the price.

“Overcoming the opioid epidemic requires all those affected by substance abuse disorder to have a second chance at recovery and life, which NARCAN nasal spray can provide,” Mike Kelly, President of U.S. Operations at Adapt Pharma, said. He continued, “Our Public Interest Price offers affordable access to this ideal formulation of naloxone and helps to educate those on the front lines of this public health crisis on the importance of this medication.”

Ohio is also currently in an agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for $6 rebates for every Amphastar naloxone syringe purchased until March 2017. During the first year of the rebate agreement, 82 Ohio agencies were reimbursed a total of more than $209,000 to offset the cost of Naloxone purchases.

Public interest price will remain at $75

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.