BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey has issued an advisory alert reminding all first responder agencies that they can still purchase the life-saving overdose reversal drug naloxone through a statewide program at a deeply discounted rate.
Her statement followed a new report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimating nearly 2,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016 in Massachusetts.
All Cape Cod law enforcement agencies carry naloxone in their response vehicles.
Kaleo Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of a naloxone auto-injector known as Evzio, recently increased its price to more than $4,500 per dose. The AG’s Office has clarified that this price increase will not affect the price of naloxone purchased through the state’s Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program established in August 2015.
“In the midst of this public health crisis we know that naloxone saves lives,” said AG Healey. “With opioid-related overdose deaths at record levels, we want to ensure that all communities and first responders have access to this critical drug at affordable prices.”
The State Office of Pharmacy Services purchases naloxone spray or spray kits, which are available through the fund at a fraction of the cost of Evzio and have already saved tens of thousands of lives in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Trust Fund allows police and firefighters to buy naloxone at a deeply discounted rate, and have the drug sent directly to them. During the last fiscal year, 82 municipalities in the state purchased 11,050 doses of naloxone at discounted prices, saving approximately $187,000.
Naloxone is a medication that effectively reverses an overdose from fentanyl, heroin or other opioids. Naloxone blocks the impact of opioids and restores normal breathing when administered to someone who has overdosed.
It is safe, easy to administer, and has no potential for abuse. There has been a significant increase in cost and demand for naloxone since the beginning of the opioid epidemic.
In August 2015, the AG’s Office secured a first-of-its kind payment of $325,000 from Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of naloxone, following concerns over the sharp price increase for its naloxone in late 2014, when the wholesale price more than doubled from less than $15 per dose to more than $30.
This payment, along with funding of $100,000 from the Legislature, has made available the equivalent of more than 20,000 doses.
Any first responder municipality with a Massachusetts Controlled Substance Registration can purchase Naloxone through SOPS. Most orders can be processed in 2-3 days, depending on availability from the wholesaler.
Municipalities interested in purchasing naloxone with atomization devices through the fund can learn more at this website.