Will Skyrocketing Price of Naloxone Limit Its Use?

NJ Spotlight | February 13, 2017 | Health Care
Report reveals that cost of lifesaving medication, which can reverse opioid overdoses, has jumped by as much as 500 percent

Narcan — which can reverse the effects of heroin and opioid overdoses — has a well-deserved reputation as a lifesaver. That helps explain why it was administered some 10,000 times in New Jersey this past year, according to state estimates.

But a trend is developing that could limit the use of Narcan, aka naloxone. Its price is climbing steeply — in some cases by as much as 500 percent, according to Ravi Gupta, one of the authors of “The Rising Price of Naloxone,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Gupta says it’s part of an overall trend of increasing prescription drug prices for both brand names and off-patent generics.

Determining what a dose of naloxone actually costs can be tricky, though.

“When we first started using (naloxone) back in 2014, the cylinders were 2 millimeters meaning the dosage was different. Today’s dosage is 4 (millimeters) so they’ve doubled it and they’ve also reduced the water content,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.