BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Despite recent comments from the Erie County Executive and remarks on social media, 2 On Your Side can verify there is not a shortage of naloxone, the drug that reverses an opioid overdose.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the following on Wednesday:
"We're hearing, based on usage in other parts of the country and how many people are being saved with naloxone, that the manufacturers can't really keep up with the demand. So we are very worried by the middle of this year that there could be a shortage."
In conversations with drug manufacturers and public health officials at the federal, state and local level, 2 On Your Side found no evidence that there is actually a shortage or even worries of a shortage in the future.
A spokesperson for Poloncarz said he was referring to a possible shortage of free naloxone from the state. The Erie County Department of Health is beginning the transition to encourage people who have the means to purchase naloxone at pharmacies instead of getting it from the health department. Naloxone can be purchased without a prescription and is covered by insurance.
By encouraging people to purchase naloxone at the pharmacy, the Erie County Health Department would be able to ensure an adequate supply for first responders.
The New York State Health Department, which supplies the free naloxone to counties, said there is no shortage of the medication, and there are no new restrictions on the free supply. The agency released the following statement:
The Department has been working to expand capacity in pharmacies, and this should not be interpreted as an effort to fully shift provision of naloxone to pharmacies. The Department is firmly committed to ensuring that the growing need for naloxone is met.
The Erie County Health Department was clear: it will continue to supply free naloxone to first responders and any citizen who shows up requesting the antidote.
Adapt Pharma (manufacturer of NARCAN, most well-known brand of naloxone)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
New York State Department of Health
Erie County (including office of County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the health department)