Naloxone Access, Affordability Is Focus of McCaskill Inquiry

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is requesting details from naloxone manufacturers on their rebate programs and other steps to help local law enforcement and community groups afford the drug. Costs for naloxone, which can be administered to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, have been rapidly increasing in recent years.

“The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities, but in Missouri and across the country, we’ve seen how successful naloxone can be at saving lives,” McCaskill said. “As we continue to fight the opioid crisis, I’m concerned that price increases for naloxone could result in even more lives lost. I look forward to hearing more from manufacturers about what they’re doing to make sure local law enforcement and community groups can continue to afford the drug.”

McCaskill is asking for information from naloxone manufacturers Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Adapt Pharma, Kaléo Pharma, and Pfizer about their rebate programs to community groups and local law enforcement to determine to what extent they assist with naloxone availability. “The rise in costs associated with acquiring naloxone has caused significant accessibility issues for those on the front lines of [the opioid] epidemic,” McCaskill wrote. “As Congress works toward implementing commonsense solutions to address the opioid epidemic, cooperation between government entities and the pharmaceutical industry in promoting the availability of naloxone will play a critical role.”

McCaskill began her oversight over naloxone manufacturers last year when she served as the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Aging Committee, and has repeatedly raised concerns over price increases. As top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCaskill launched a wide-ranging investigation earlier this year into opioid manufacturers to explore whether pharmaceutical manufacturers—at the head of the opioids pipeline—have contributed to opioid overutilization and overprescription. She expanded the investigation recently to also look into distribution of opioids and the efforts leading companies have made to monitor, report, and investigate the diversion of drugs for illicit use.

Read McCaskill’s letters to Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Adapt Pharma,Kaléo Pharma, and Pfizer HERE.