Opioid antidote Naloxone price cut, offers rebates

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The state cost for an overdose antidote has been lowered after an increase last year.

The opioid overdose cure Naloxone, or buprenorphine (brand name Narcan) will now be sold to Vermont state and local governments and associated agencies at 20 percent less than the wholesale price, according to a release from Jill S. Abrams, assistant attorney general.

Naloxone used to be an injectable drug traditionally administered in emergency rooms and by paramedic, however it is now available as a nasal spray and works quickly without side effects, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The drug could prevent more than 20,000 deaths in the United States each year.

An agreement has been made between Naloxone's manufacturer Amphastar and Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell after concerns of the antidote price increase in 2014. According to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, police departments were able to purchase the antidote for $14.90 in August of last year, but by December the cost rose to $34.50.

The Turning Point Center in Bennington received Naloxone in October and distributes free kits containing two doses and an instruction manual. Users are also given a brief training session on how to use the kit by a volunteer. Turning Point is one of 10 other sites in the state that has access to the kits, according to a November article in the Banner.

"I think it should be made available free to everyone," Kenneth Sigsbury said, who trains people on how to use the kits at Turning Point. "Everyone is very appreciative that it's available and they're happy that we offer it."

In addition to becoming more affordable, a $6 per dose rebate will be provided for each syringe purchased within the next year, and any increases in Naloxone's wholesale price will be matched with an increased rebate, according to the release.

About 69,000 people around the world die each year from an opioid overdose, and WHO's guidelines aims to decrease global deaths by giving family members, friends, and other witnesses of people who use drugs the access to Naloxone.


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