With rates of heroin overdose in New York continuing to rise, the implementation of a price cut for Naloxone is seen as a way to help save many lives. In this light, New York's Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced an agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to extend the nearly 20 percent price cut for the medication.
Naloxone (Narcan®) is a highly effective antidote that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by blocking or reversing the effects of opioid medication such as slowed breathing, loss of consciousness and severe drowsiness. The availability of this life-saving drug was expanded in other states too.
The agreement also includes the authorization of 479 CVS/pharmacy locations in the whole state to provide Naloxone to customers even without any prescription. The contract between the federal government and pharmaceutical company stipulates that Amphastar will cover a $6 rebate per dose.
"The price reduction announced today will save lives and help agencies across New York fight the scourge of heroin abuse," Attorney General Schneiderman said.
"Thousands of lives have been saved as a result of the use of naloxone, and it is my hope that getting this powerful, opio[i]d antidote in the hands of more agencies will give those struggling with addiction a second chance at life and sobriety," he added.
Last year, Attorney General Schneiderman successfully negotiated the one year price cut and the new agreement will extend it for another one year.
According to New York's Drug Control Update, New York was one of the top ten states for drug-use rates in 2008. An estimated 9 percent of the residents of New York reported past-month use of illicit drugs with heroin as the most commonly cited drug among drug treatment admissions in the state.
Heroin overdose increased rapidly as a cause of death in New York. In 2012, 1,848 people died from drug overdose across the state with an annual increase of 197 deaths or 11.9 percent from 2008.
With the extension of the price cut, many individuals may find it affordable to access this life-saving drug.
"Naloxone is a proven life-saver that counteracts the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally." said Dr. Howard Zucker, State Health Commissioner.
"This agreement with CVS/pharmacy will help to save lives and hopefully get people on the road to recovery," he added.