The opioid overdose antidote is not technically over-the-counter, but that could change

The opioid overdose antidote is not technically over-the-counter, but that could change

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Narcan is commonly used by first
responders and given out by community organizers to revive someone overdosing
on opioids. It can also technically be picked up by anyone at most pharmacies
across the U.S. without an individual prescription, but is it really that easy
to get your hands on. That sounds good in theory, in practice, actually, it’s
completely failed to meet the need. Narcan, a common brand name for naloxone,
is still categorized by the FDA as a prescription only drug. So even though
most states have standing orders allowing people to purchase it through
the pharmacist, it’s not as simple as going to the pharmacy and grabbing it
off the shelf. If you actually go to buy naloxone yourself, what you find are
that many pharmacists are not aware of the standing orders, they may or may not
have it in stock and depending on your insurance. you may pay full retail price,
you may pay an insurance copay. It just depends on your particular insurance
status. Michael Hufford co-founded nonprofit
Harm Reduction Therapeutics to try and change that. Our goal is to take an
intranasal naloxone product and to take it directly over the counter and sell it
as cheaply as possible, but whether making it over-the-counter will actually
reduce the price of the lifesaving drug is still up for debate.
If it’s too costly, we’re going to create or sustain the great divide that we see
in healthcare between people with money and insurance and people without money
in insurance. Hufford says though they can’t predict what the exact cost will
be, their nonprofit status will help make it a fraction of the current cost.
Removing profit from the equation lets you just focus on getting the product
out as cheaply as possible. He says they are currently working with the FDA and
he predicts the approval process could take up to two years.

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