"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Opioid overdose drug maker goals for $50 OTC price

April 21, 2023 – Emergent BioSolutions hopes to cost its over-the-counter nasal spray Narcan – a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses – at lower than $50 for a pack of two 4-milligram doses.

Emergent said its goal is to make the OTC retail price “consistent” with the worth the corporate charges stakeholders, which is on average lower than $50 per pack. However, the actual retail price can be set by individual retailers, Emergent said in a news release.

The FDA approved Narcan over-the-counter on March 29, but Emergent didn't disclose a value at the moment. Emergent expects the drug to be available in shops and online in late summer.

That $50 price can be below the corporate's current wholesale price of $125, Emergent said. Still, the drug can be too expensive for many individuals who would profit from it, health experts told NBC News.

“It's unlikely that most people are going to spend $40 to $50 on Narcan,” said Dr. Michael Barnett, associate professor of health policy and management on the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “They're also prioritizing rent, groceries and paying for opioids, which we want to reduce.”

The drug is now available by prescription and free at health departments and community centers. Some pharmacy chains also offer the drug with out a prescription, but consumers must ask a pharmacist to dispense it. Health insurance doesn't typically cover nonprescription drugs, and it's unknown whether an exception can be made for Narcan.

“There are inevitable tensions when drugs like Narcan are approved for over-the-counter sale,” Larry Levitt, executive vp of health policy at KFF, told NBC News. “These drugs become more readily available over the counter, but ironically, in many cases, they also become more expensive for patients if insurance doesn't cover them.”

It is hoped that Narcan will help reduce the variety of fatal opioid overdoses, that are estimated at 1,000,000 per yr within the United States.