Generic Narcan Approved!
Yep, you read correctly. The FDA just approved a version of generic Narcan. (A generic version of Narcan anyway.) And not a moment too soon either. Because if the brand name opioid overdose-reversing nasal spray can save thousands at $150 a pop, just imagine how many Americans will be saved at a fraction of that price.
The generic Narcan is being manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals. The Israeli-based company calls itself “the world’s leading provider of generic pharmaceuticals.” Considering the generic giant made $19 billion in 2018, the claim rings true. Now that the Federal Drug Administration has approved Teva’s generic version of the naloxone nasal spray, expect those profits to rise even higher.
No matter. The more folks have access to the rapidly-acting overdose-reversing drug the better. And a cheaper version of Narcan will undoubtedly put the life-saving nasal spray into a lot more hands.
What about Adapt Pharma’s Narcan? Well, they’ll probably still do fine. After all, the opioid crisis shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Besides, unlike Kaleo, who raised its price on their auto-injectable Evzio from $575 to over $4000, Adapt didn’t gouge with Narcan. Then again, Adapt made its money back and then some. So it didn’t really have to.
Adapt Pharma sure has good timing. The Irish company was established in 2014 with a $115 million investment. It then developed a nasal spray way to deliver naloxone to opioid overdose victims. They called it Narcan. The rest is history.
Opioid epidemic history. Narcan was a hit from the get. It was easy. It was quick. And it was effective. In fact, Narcan was so good the brand became synonymous with saving lives. Lots and lots of lives.
The more lives Narcan saved, the more potential life-savers wanted Narcan. Cops asked for it. Clinics asked for it. Schools asked for it. And they got it. EMTs and hospitals already had it of course. But they wanted more. They got it too. So did pharmacies all across America, who got permission to dispense Narcan without a prescription.
People noticed. More importantly, other companies noticed. Narcan was making money. A lot of money. And the ongoing opioid epidemic ensured it’d make a whole lot more. That’s what Emergent must have thought. Because last year the U.S. based company bought Adapt. The price $635 million, most of it cash. The Irish Times called it one of the Deals of the Year.
Adapt claims the sale was because the company wanted to maximize the public health benefit of their blockbuster overdose-reversing drug. We wonder.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
It’s been only a couple days since we at Healing Properties encouraged the Federal Government to put as much muscle into helping those addicted to opioids as they did in busting that massive opioid drug ring. And the FDA’s approval of generic Narcan is most certainly an encouraging sign.
Equally encouraging is the $350 million in opioid-fighting government grants the National Institutes of Health (NIH) just awarded to the University of Kentucky, Boston Medical Center, New York City’s Columbia University and Ohio State University.
The grants will support a multi-year study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The study itself is part of the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, which aims “to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis.”
HEAL’s goal is to reduce overdose deaths by 40% over three years in some of the most opioid-ravaged communities in America. How? “By testing a set of proven prevention and treatment interventions, such as distribution of naloxone and linking individuals in the criminal justice system with treatment for opioid addiction.”
“As communities across America continue to suffer from the opioid crisis, a comprehensive approach is needed to help end addiction long-term,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “By testing a suite of evidence-based interventions, not just in health care, but in schools, among first responders, and in the criminal justice system, the HEALing Communities Study will seek to reduce dramatically the number of overdose deaths in those communities, and to create a model for helping communities nationwide.”
While we at Healing Properties wholeheartedly applaud the government’s additional efforts, we hope HEAL’s “evidence-based interventions” include abstinence-based addiction treatment programs, as well as a continuum of care that focuses on co-occurring disorders in its medication-based treatment models. Because there is more than one way to successfully treat opioid use disorder. We should know. We successfully treat OUD every single day.
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