WHITE HOUSE WANTS TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO OPIOID OVERDOSE REVERSAL MEDICATION.
President Joe Biden’s administration is seeking to meet with the makers of the life-saving medication naloxone used to reverse opioid overdoses, in an effort to increase access and reduce cost, a spokesperson for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said.
ONDCP Director Dr. Rahul Gupta “plans to have conversations with manufacturers to share his key principle moving forward: the easier it is for people to access naloxone, the more lives we can save,” the spokesperson said.
The planned meeting is part of the administration’s efforts “to ensure naloxone is both accessible and affordable to everyone who may need it,” they added in a statement.
Opioid abuse has plagued the country for more than two decades and killed more than a half million Americans, according to federal data — turning the highly addictive pain medications into a public health crisis.
Naloxone is seen as a key tool to help someone survive an opioid overdose.
U.S. health regulators approved an over-the-counter version of Emergent BioSolutions Inc’s (EBS.N) Narcan earlier this year aimed at making it easier to access without a prescription. The Food and Drug Administration approved the first generic version of the medication in 2021 sold by Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA.TA). Other drugmakers also sell various versions of the product.
“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the true out of pocket costs for patients, including how Medicare and private insurers will cover Narcan as an over the counter product. We encourage the ONDCP to include all stakeholders – manufacturers, retailers, insurers – in this conversation,” Emergent said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear which pharmaceutical makers the White House had planned to invite to the meeting.