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Ohio and Adapt Pharma Make Deal for Discount on Naloxone

Ohio and Adapt Pharma Make Deal for Discount on Naloxone

Author: Justin Mckibben

It should be obvious by now that expanded Naloxone access is a necessity. With the opioid epidemic spreading more and more and the overdose outbreak claiming so many lives everywhere, we must take advantage of every available asset to save lives. Because of price hikes that coincide with the increasing rates of overdose and death Big Pharma companies that produce the overdose antidote have come under fire many times in the past year. Now, one such company has reached an agreement with the state of Ohio to help ease the financial burden of protecting the people.

Authorities and city officials in Ohio battling the overdose outbreak will soon receive some financial relief. The state has struck a deal with the makers of Naloxone, Adapt Pharma, to provide the life-saving nasal spray at a discount.

The Ohio Overdose Outbreak

Being from the Buckeye State myself, it is disturbing to know Ohio has been hit so hard by the heroin epidemic. This is in large due to the recent introduction of Carfentanil. This incredibly poisonous substance is currently mixing into the drug supply through Chinese vendors, according to an Associated Press investigation. The investigation found several businesses based in China that export dangerous drugs with relative ease to the United States, including:

Carfentanil is so potently perilous that it even poses a risk to law enforcement that may come in contact with it during drug seizures.

The terrible truth is that Ohio has been an epicenter of the overdose outbreak. In 2014, Ohio was #2 of states with the most overdose deaths. Since then several stories of horrific overdose upsurges and deaths due to opiates have highlighted the devastation in the state.

Just this year Cincinnati, Ohio statistics show the city sees at least four overdoses per day on average. The dangerous drug Carfentanil has been seized at least 343 times in Ohio. In July, Akron paramedics responded to 236 overdoses, including 14 fatalities linked to carfentanil, in a period of just 21 days!  July also saw Ohio Governor John Kasich push for Naloxone expansion, and the battle has been uphill to equip all those in need.

Ohio Public Interest Price Deal

The Public Interest Price deal was announced by Attorney General Mike DeWine this past Friday. The discount agreement with Adapt Pharma states that Ohio officials will be able to purchase naloxone nasal spray for $75 per dose. Now this still seems a bit high, but this price is a 40% discount from the wholesale cost of $125. DeWine explained the need for such action in order to make any progress on saving those in Ohio who are suffering.

“The cost to purchase naloxone has prevented some agencies from carrying this life saving drug. I hope that Adapt Pharma’s new price freeze for Ohio will allow more agencies to consider keeping naloxone on hand. I continue to urge law enforcement agencies to carry this drug, because it can mean the difference between life and death for those suffering from addiction.”

The Attorney General’s comments echo an issue that is present in many places across the country. Law enforcement agencies and First Responders are aware of the need for Naloxone. However, because the makers have spiked the price so high in the last few years the demand has been met with financial hurdles.

Continued Overdose Antidote Expansion

This isn’t the only deal Ohio is involved in to make the communities safer. The agreement Ohio has with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. stands to to provide $6 rebates for every Naloxone syringe. This deal applies to all Naloxone purchased through March 2017. This deal has been active for a year now. In that time 82 local agencies have been reimbursed over $209,000 to offset the cost of Naloxone purchases.

The new Public Interest Price deal is set to last a year. In that time it could mean the difference between life and death for many people. Having the resources is now especially vital. One can only hope that more allowances are made where needed.

Naloxone and Narcan, both opioid overdose antidotes, should be made as available as possible. The fact that price has become such a problem is not just unfortunate; it is unsettling with all things considered. It is some consolation that companies are willing to acknowledge the need and offer some semblance of compromise to help.

The preservation of all lives should be a responsibility of all who have the ability to help; not just for public health officials, but everyone. As part of that, Palm Partners is dedicated to contributing to the rehabilitation and revolutionary growth possible with holistic treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

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America VS Big Pharma: Fighting for Naloxone Funding

America VS Big Pharma: Fighting for Naloxone Funding

Author: Justin Mckibben

Back in 1971 the brand name Narcan, generic- Naloxone, was introduced to the world. The opiate overdose antidote has become a popular topic of discussion in our world today. With heroin, fentanyl and other dangerous opioid drugs feeding the opiate epidemic and overdose outbreak, these medications are sought after as the life-line pulling addicts back from deaths door.

With the rise in opiate abuse came the rise in demand, and with the rise in demand we were shown a side of Big Pharma that has many in an uproar. Since 1971 the price for Narcan has grown 4,000 percent! Yes, 4 with 3 zeros after it!

I’ve written before about this trend; something I consider to be a disheartening injustice and abuse of power. Today I want to re-emphasize the point by looking into some specifics about the lengths many have to go to in order to provide this life-saving medicine to their citizens. Let’s talk about America VS Big Pharma and the fight for Naloxone funding.

Baltimore’s Battle for Naloxone

In 2014 Baltimore, Maryland was referred to as “Heroin Capital of America” with an estimated 60,000 heroin addicts out of a population of 645,000. While Baltimore may no longer be one of the top states in overdose deaths, the state’s budget shows:

  • $33,540 on Naloxone in 2014
  • $118,236 on Naloxone for the fiscal year of 2016

So in two years, Baltimore has more than tripled the amount of money spent on Naloxone. Baltimore’s Health Commissioner Leana Wen continues to work at sounding the alarm across the country for Naloxone price gouging since stepping into the position in 2015. In March she called on Congress to enact price controls on the drug in the interest of public safety. In her plea Wen stated,

“The cost of naloxone skyrocketing means that we can only save a fraction of the lives we were able to before… Manufacturers have claimed that this price increase is related to increased demand. However, it is unclear why the cost of a generic medication that is available for much lower costs in other countries will be suddenly so expensive.”

Pennsylvania in Pain

In Pennsylvania drug overdoses tied to opioids rose nearly a quarter last year, yet these communities are still dependent on the goodwill of charitable organizations and health insurance companies. These resources are meaningful, but don’t go far enough!

  • Pittsburgh-based Highmark Foundation donated $50,000 in the first quarter of last year to purchase Naloxone to local law enforcement agencies. But it didn’t renew the grant this year.
  • Health insurers contributed a total of $500,000 in Pennsylvania alone to fund naloxone distribution.
  • Cigna Foundation donated $50,000 this year to fund Naloxone access
  • Independence Blue Cross joined the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association in a providing $50,000 to provide Naloxone to first responders

But most patrol officers still don’t have it! As of 2016 Naloxone kits have only been distributed to about 15% of Philadelphia police officers!

Delaware County has taken extra measures. Officials made it so money seized during drug investigations under asset forfeiture laws could be used to support its Naloxone program.

In case you didn’t know, Pittsburgh doesn’t play either. In July one judge ordered two convicted drug dealers to throw in almost $4,000 for Naloxone funding. Now that is a new brand of justice.

Rhode Island’s Settlement Savings

This was a desperate move indeed, as Rhode Island reached into the $230 million settlement with Google for $40 million to help keep its program alive. This settlement is from when Google facilitated the illegal online exchange of prescription drugs from Canada.

5 Government Interventions

  1. Big Pharma Letters

In June Senate Special Committee on Aging addressed a letter to five leading naloxone manufactures requesting an explanation for increasing drug costs. These companies are:

  • Amphaster Pharmaceuticals

Amphaster Pharma’s price went from $12 in 2012 to $41 a dose as of 2015.

  • Pfizer
  • Adapt Pharmaceuticals

Adapt’s Narcan nasal spray costs $63 each dose. Although it does cut price in half for government agencies, community organizations, and patients without insurance

  • Kaleo Pharma

Price went from $375 in November 2015 to $1,875 in February 2016. Now, only 7 months later, it’s up to $2,250 for a single-dose injector!

  • Mylan Inc.

Most of these companies claimed the price hikes are due to additional burdens they face to meet the exponential demands. Yet, this excuse isn’t flying with many healthcare advocates. The executive director of the Chicago Recovery Alliance, Dan Bigg, has said in response,

“We’re not talking about a limited commodity. Naloxone is a medicine that is almost as cheap as sterile sodium chloride—salt water,”

As far as more help from the powers that be, many state and local governments are reaching into emergency funding to provide Naloxone to first responders. Other government programs have been put in a position to help, but is that help enough?

  1. Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal Grant Program

The Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal Grant Program distributes $1.5 million from government funding, but it had to be split between 15 communities. This has helped some, but left many officials scavenging for financing to be prepared for 2017. Many are calling on the government to assume even more costs.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Block Grants

States do have authorization to draw on these funds to subsidize Naloxone purchases. However, in the words or Peter Luongo, executive director of the Institute for Research, Education & Training in the Addictions, “That’s not new money.”

What this means is that officials must now move the money out of other programs for addiction prevention and treatment. So instead of getting more help, they are having to pick-and-choose which help is more necessary.

  1. Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)

This summer President Obama signed for this initiative. It means to call for expanding first-responder access to Naloxone. However, the fact remains that CARA funding has not yet been established by Congress.

  1. Department of Health and Human Services

Supposedly starting this month this office will be providing up to $11 million to fund Naloxone distribution. However even this great contribution will only apply to a dozen states.

The Overdose Oligopoly

The reality is this is a fight we need to talk more about. Despite all these government interventions, why is it we still cannot keep up with Big Pharma pricing?

So far nothing seems to justify the monopolizing and exploitation of the opiate epidemic by Big Pharma. These companies are actively increasing the price of a life-saving medication by over 1,000% in many cases during a period in which tens of thousands of people all over the country are dying!

Whether you know all that much about economics, Big Pharma is making millions upon millions of dollars off of these medications. They claim to be trying to keep up with costs, yet continue to show increasing profit. Call it what it is- extortion via oligopoly.

Naloxone and Narcan may not be the miracle cure for opiate addiction, but for many it is the only reason they are alive. So, how many can say the lack of access is the only reason their loved one is not? Surely, Naloxone access expansion is taking off in a new way. CVS stores, schools and all types of venues are providing kits, training and other resources. The only problem is, they are struggling to maintain those resources.

We, as a nation, should expect better than this.

A bigger part of getting better is beyond the medication used to preserve life. Real recovery begins with the process of working to change a life. Holistic addiction treatment allows people who were once hopeless build the foundation of hope again. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call Palm Partners. You are not alone.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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