As heroin (and fentanyl) overdoses increase citywide, statewide and nationwide, first responders are looking for more access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose. With demand up, the price has risen. But Congressman Elijah Cummings thinks Maryland is getting a bad deal.
Cummings, the highest-ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday detailing how badly the state is being overcharged by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals. According to a Baltimore Business Journal report from earlier this year, the price of naloxone went up 111 percent in six months.
“I encourage you to take the same aggressive action as other states to negotiate an agreement with this company and then use these savings to make naloxone more widely available,” Cummings writes.
A definitive reason for the price increase hasn’t been given, but the public health emergency many national officials have declared over the rising number of heroin overdoses has led to an increased demand. In Baltimore and Maryland as a whole, heroin prevention efforts include efforts to buy more naloxone, and train all first responders how to use it. Officials also want families of people addicted to heroin to have the antidote, which can be injected or snorted.
“Naloxone is non-addictive, and expanding training on how to administer the drug can help basic emergency medical service staff reverse an opioid overdose and save more lives,” said CDC Senior Health Scientist Mark Faul.
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