AG reminds officials about Narcan discount program to address opioid crisis

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With opioid-related overdoses continuing to increase in Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey is reminding municipal officials about a state program enabling them to purchase the overdose-reversing drug naloxone at a “deeply discounted” rate.
 
The life-saving medication (also known as Narcan) has been used by first responders to reverse thousands of overdoses. During the last fiscal year, 82 municipalities purchased 11,050 doses of naloxone at discounted prices through the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program, saving approximately $187,000, according to Healey.
 
“In order to reduce the number of fatal overdoses, it is critical that law enforcement, community health organizations, health care facilities, families, and first responders, in particular, have access to affordable naloxone,” Healey states. “While many agencies have purchased naloxone through this program, we must continue to expand access … as widely as possible.”
 
A report released last month by the Department of Public Health estimates that there were nearly 2,000 overdose deaths in 2016, a 13 percent increase over the previous year, with many of the deaths involving fentanyl use.
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To purchase discounted naloxone through the DPH, municipalities should visit the DPH’s Naloxone Access website or call the State Office of Pharmacy Services at (978) 858-2114.
 
Note: There are other state programs through which municipalities, private organizations, and others may be eligible to obtain naloxone, including use of MED38 Pharmaceutical Prime Vendor Statewide Contract for public entities to obtain discounted pricing; the DPH’s Opioid Overdose Prevention & Reversal Program, which donates free product to certain community health organizations; and individual purchases of naloxone from retail pharmacies that have a standing order for naloxone.
 
The manufacturer of one form of naloxone (auto-injector, Evzio) substantially increased its price recently to more than $4,500 per dose, but Healey said the increase will not affect the price of naloxone purchased through the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program because the State Office for Pharmacy Services purchases naloxone spray or spray kits, which are available at a fraction of the cost of Evzio. She also noted that Evzio may be available to first responders and certain other organizations at no cost through the manufacturer’s Product Donation Grants. (For information, visit https://kaleopharma.com/who-we-are/kaleo-cares.)
 
Download DPH report on opioid-related overdose deaths