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Life-Saving Naloxone Drug Price Keeps Climbing

SANATOGA PA – The cost of naloxone, a medication now carried by Lower Pottsgrove police officers to potentially prevent overdose deaths by people who have used opioid-based drugs such as heroin, is climbing high, but the price of delivering it is rising even faster, township Police Chief Michael Foltz told the Board of Commissioners last week.

The police department currently receives the drug and its administration system without charge from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the county Public Safety Department. They’re contained within easily carried and used kits (like the one pictured above), and township officers have already rescued individuals thanks to its availability, Foltz said earlier.

Experts estimate more than 33,000 people nationwide died from opioid-related overdose deaths during 2015 alone.

Because of high demand among first responders nationwide, the price of the drug itself has gone up considerably, Foltz reported to the board during its meeting last Monday (Feb. 6, 2017). Articles published in Scientific American and the New England Journal of Medicine confirm the cost of generic injectable naloxone has risen from about $63 in 2012 to about $143 today.

Emergency personnel generally favor injecting the drug, and many rely on a single-use auto-injector device, the chief said. Hikes on that technology are far greater, the publications claim. Depending on manufacturer, prices for a two-injector pack have jumped from more than $600 in 2014 to currently around $4,500. Without the county’s full subsidy, Foltz noted, the police department would have a difficult time affording naloxone auto-injectors in its budget.

Some departments are already switching to a less expensive nasal spray delivery device, Foltz said. Lower Pottsgrove officers also are trained in their use, he added.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 6 meeting):

Photo from the Police Chiefs Association of Montgomery County via Facebook

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