Greater Access to Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Would Save More Lives
Washington, D.C. - As the White House finalizes its emergency declaration on opioid abuse, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined his colleagues today in calling on President Trump to follow the recommendations of his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and allow the government to negotiate lower prices for naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, and access to naloxone is critical given the magnitude of the opioid epidemic.
"The opioid epidemic now claims 142 deaths per day, and it is still getting worse," the senators wrote. "Unfortunately, the price of [naloxone] has increased dramatically during the epidemic. The prices are highest for newer devices that make delivery of the medication easier. Narcan, which administers naloxone as a nasal spray, costs $150 for a two pack and Evzio, a naloxone auto-injector, has increased from $690 in 2014 to $4,500 today for a two pack."
"Your Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis recommends dramatically increasing access to naloxone, and says that ‘by declaring a national emergency, you can empower the HHS Secretary to negotiate reduced pricing for all governmental units,'" the senators continued. "We strongly agree with the recommendation, and urge you to give the Secretary this authority immediately. By doing so, you can put this important medication in the hands of more people and save lives."
In August 2017, Bennet and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb heard from the Colorado General Assembly's Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee on barriers to fighting the opioid crisis. The high price of naloxone was raised at this session.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.