Firm cuts naloxone cost amid calls for lower prices

ALBANY -- A manufacturer will keep lower prices for a heroin-overdose antidote through January 2018, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

The agreement announced Thursday with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. means New York agencies who buy naloxone from the company will retain prices that are lower than on the open market, Schneiderman said.
Amphastar will cover a $6 rebate per dose.

The deal comes after state data from Schneiderman showed a deal from the year before, which was in effect from February 2015 until this past July, allowed more than 200 state agencies to purchase 278,000 syringes of naloxone at a discounted price.

“We need every tool at our disposal to respond to the opioid addiction crisis, and that includes making sure that live-saving medication like naloxone is available to first responders who are on the front lines to treat victims of overdose,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Sen. David Carlucci on Friday released a report that calls for lower costs for the life-saving drug.

In his report titled, “How Price Gouging of Naloxone has put New Yorkers at Risk,” the Rockland County senator calls for discounted prices of naloxone, citing the growth in heroin deaths in New York.

The number of opioid-related deaths rose 47 percent in New York over a five-year stretch, the state Health Department said in a report in May.

Carlucci said Amphastar's price for naloxone rose from $12 a dose to $60 a dose since 2001, and he called on the state Legislature to pass tougher regulations to control the costs.

Sales of naloxone have risen from $21 million in 2011 to $82 million, according to Carlucci’s report.

"Pharmaceutical companies must be held accountable where suspected price gouging has occurred of vital prescriptions, including with price increases of naloxone," Carlucci said in the report.

"Passage of crucial price gouging legislation will help achieve that goal."

USA Today: Albany Bureau


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