October 25, 2017

Shaheen, Hassan Call on President to Allow Government to Negotiate Lower Prices for Naloxone, a Life-Saving Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug

Washington, DC – As the White House finalizes its emergency declaration on opioid abuse, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined their Senate colleagues to call on President Trump to follow the recommendations of his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and allow the government to negotiate lower prices for naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug.  Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 and access to naloxone is critical given the magnitude of the opioid epidemic. 

“The opioid epidemic now claims 142 deaths per day, and it is still getting worse,” wrote the Senators. “Unfortunately, the price of [naloxone] has increased dramatically during the epidemic. The prices are highest for newer devices that make delivery of the medication easier. Narcan, which administers naloxone as a nasal spray, costs $150 for a two pack and Evzio, a naloxone auto-injector, has increased from $690 in 2014 to $4,500 today for a two pack.”

“Your Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis recommends dramatically increasing access to naloxone, and says that ‘by declaring a national emergency, you can empower the HHS Secretary to negotiate reduced pricing for all governmental units,’” the Senators added. “We strongly agree with the recommendation, and urge you to give the Secretary this authority immediately. By doing so, you can put this important medication in the hands of more people and save lives.”

A signed copy of the letter can be read here

Senator Shaheen is the lead Democrat on the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Earlier this year, she helped secure over $700 million in additional opioid treatment resources. Senator Shaheen has been a leader in Congress on combating the opioid crisis, and was instrumental in efforts to obtain emergency funding through the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law by President Obama last year.

As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan worked to increase the safe and effective use of Narcan and in the Senate, she has continued her commitment to combat the opioid epidemic by working to strengthen prevention, treatment, recovery and supporting law enforcement efforts. Senator Hassan has authored the bipartisan Opioid Addiction Risk Transparency Act to help ensure that doctors understand that all opioids – even ones that are “abuse-deterrent” – are addictive. President Trump has signed the measure into law.

This afternoon, Senators Shaheen and Hassan unveiled legislation to invest $45 billion to address the opioid crisis, which would be the largest response bill to combat the epidemic to date.

 

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