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Amphastar Pharmaceuticals deal extends Narcan price cut, AG says

A kit with naloxone, known by its brand

A kit with naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan. The state of New York has reached an agreement with the manufacturer to extend a price cut on the medication, which reverses opioid overdoses. Photo Credit: AP / Mel Evans

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has reached an agreement with a California pharmaceutical company to extend a $6 price cut on naloxone, a highly effective medication that reverses an opioid overdose.

Specialty drug company Amphastar Pharmaceuticals will cover the rebate for the drug, commercially known as Narcan, the attorney general said Tuesday.

The price before the agreement was $33 per dose.

The offer is available to all public agencies — including schools, police and fire departments — in addition to the state Department of Health, the City of New York, the governments of individual New York counties and the drug-treatment centers they fund.

A Southampton Town police officer last Friday used the treatment to revive a man who suffered an apparent heroin overdose at a bus stop in Riverside, authorities said.

Local school administrators said they are glad to have access to the drug.

Anthony Falco, president of the Sachem school board, said having such a medication on campus is critical as the heroin epidemic grows.

“It’s very appropriate to have this in those buildings and be able to use it,” he said of his district’s middle and high schools.

Roberta Gerold, superintendent of the Middle Country School District and immediate past president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, said her district’s nurses are trained to administer the drug.

So far, they have not had an occasion to use it.

As for the discount, she’s appreciative, noting that under the tax cap, “every single penny is looked at carefully.”

Schneiderman’s office said the deal reduces the price of naloxone by nearly 20 percent, adding that the rebate applies even if the purchaser “separately negotiated a discount below the published wholesale rate, and regardless of whether the agency buys from Amphastar or a third party.”

He said communities need such resources to help battle the heroin epidemic that has gripped the state and nation.

“The price reduction announced today will save lives and help agencies across New York fight the scourge of heroin abuse,” Schneiderman said in a prepared statement. “Thousands of lives have been saved as a result of the use of naloxone, and it is my hope that getting this powerful, opioid antidote in the hands of more agencies will give those struggling with addiction a second chance at life and sobriety.”

He said that in 2013, more than half of New York City’s 782 drug-related overdoses were from heroin.

The same year there also were 20,000 hospitalizations related to heroin in New York State, his office said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nationwide fatal heroin overdoses doubled from 2010 to 2012.

Schneiderman’s office in 2014 launched the Community Overdose Prevention Program, funded with $5 million in forfeiture funds from drug busts carried out by his office, to train police and others to administer naloxone.

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