First responders will be able to afford naloxone, the fast-acting opioid-reversal drug, for the next several years because the manufacturer agreed to extend a $6 per syringe rebate program through January 2018, the state attorney general said Thursday.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said the rebates he negotiated last year have saved more than 200 first-response and treatment agencies across the state more than $1.6 million, on a total of 278,000 of syringes.
The new agreement also guards against rising wholesale prices. The drug company, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc., will automatically increase its rebates, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, to keep pace, he said.
“The price cut negotiated by my office has made this antidote more affordable for hundreds of communities across the state, and we will continue to look for ways to empower communities in New York to respond to this crisis,” Schneiderman said.
Long Island beneficiaries include the Town of Hempstead; the police departments of Nassau, Suffolk, Floral Park and Long Beach; Nassau’s Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services; the school districts of East Meadow and Rockville Centre; Bethpage Primary Medical Care; the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency; and Suffolk’s Department of Health Services, Schneiderman’s office said.
Schneiderman stressed the rebates are just one aspect of New York’s bid to end spiraling opioid addiction, listing pressuring insurers, and prosecuting drug kingpins and doctors who illegally prescribe the drugs or those who divert them as additional strategies.
“We need every tool at our disposal to respond to the opioid addiction crisis, and that includes making sure that lifesaving medication like naloxone is available to first responders who are on the front lines to treat victims of overdose,” Schneiderman said in a prepared statement.
In October, Schneiderman said health insurer Cigna agreed to no longer require addicts around the country to obtain prior authorization for medication-assisted treatment.
That same month, he and the State Police also said they had seized 20 kilos of heroin and cocaine and indicted 14 people on narcotics-trafficking charges.
In September, he and law enforcement officials from around the nation announced 25 people had been indicted on charges of participating in a heroin-smuggling ring and more than 33 kilos of heroin had been seized — one of the state’s largest seizures.
A law Schneiderman said he authored three years ago has cut “doctor-shopping” by 75 percent by creating an online prescription monitoring program, enabling doctors and pharmacists to report and track controlled narcotics.
Schneiderman said his anti-opioid efforts also include “aggressively” enforcing laws requiring parity in health plan coverage of mental health and addiction treatment.