New Jersey strikes deal to get heroin antidote cheaper

PART ONE (December 2014)

Source: North
Police departments and other emergency responders in New Jersey will not have to pay as much for a drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.
In this May 13, 2015 photo, the contents of a drug overdose rescue kit is seen at a training session in Buffalo, N.Y., on how to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of heroin and prescription painkillers.
Gov. Chris Christie announced a deal on Thursday for law enforcement and other public agencies to get nearly 20 percent off the price of naloxone from California-based Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The deal mirrors previous agreements between the company and officials in Ohio and New York.
Agencies buy the drug from third-party companies. Under the deal, Amphastar will refund New Jersey $6 per dose sold to qualifying agencies and the state will distribute the rebates to the groups. The state says the average cost of a syringe is about $29.
The price of the drug has doubled since Amphastar went public a year ago, causing some public health advocates to worry that agencies will not be able to pay for the amount they need to save lives. The company has said that the price increase is because of rising costs of raw materials, energy and labor.
The rising costs have meant that some agencies have limited their supplies.
Christie’s office says about 1,000 kits were used in the state last year to reverse overdoses. He also says that the number of overdose deaths in the state declined last year for the first time in four years.
“The agreement means one thing for New Jersey: more lives saved from preventable overdoses,” Christie said in a statement. “The capped prices and rebates now available are imperative in allowing New Jersey’s law enforcement officers and first responders to continue the vital life-saving work they do in confronting drug abuse and addiction on our streets and in our communities.

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