California and N.J. Collaborate to Procure Generic Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Narcan

California and N.J. Collaborate to Procure Generic Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Narcan

California is partnering with a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company to buy a generic version of Narcan, a medication that can save a life during an opioid overdose, according to an arrangement announced on Monday by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. Amneal Pharmaceuticals will be selling naloxone to California for $24 per box, which is around 40% below the current market price. 

California’s Naloxone Distribution Project will freely offer the packets to emergency personnel, educational institutions, and community groups without any cost. The contract is significant because it enables California to buy a lot more naloxone — 3.2 million packs in a year compared to 2 million packs for the same overall cost.

The agreement means that naloxone shall shortly be offered with the CalRx label. CalRx was initially suggested by Newsom in 2019 as a way to persuade pharma firms to reduce their pricing by producing much cheaper different versions of life-saving medications. In 2020, he endorsed legislation giving authority to the state.

The California government and businesses will be able to purchase naloxone out of the Naloxone Distribution Project, officials of the Newsom administration, and the government are currently working on an initiative to make it ready to people for sale.

“California is reshaping the pharmaceutical industry with CalRx by providing lifesaving drugs at more reasonable and accessible prices,” Newsom stated in a statement released by his office. 

Naloxone has been freely accessible in the United States without a doctor’s prescription since March 2023, when the Food and Drug Administration allowed Narcan, a nasal spray brand developed by the Maryland-based pharmaceutical company, “Emergent BioSolutions”. 

Amneal Pharmaceuticals developed a generic form of Narcan that obtained FDA approval last week. The naloxone packets acquired by California will initially be distributed by the Amneal label. 

The Naloxone will be labeled CalRx as it gets approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which is something that the Newsom administration has already indicated that it might take a few weeks.

Opioid fatalities due to overdoses from heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone have increased drastically in California as well as across the country. Annual opioid overdose deaths in California have nearly doubled since 2019, striking 7,385 towards the end of 2022.

In 2018, California started giving away free naloxone kits. According to state officials, the Naloxone Distribution Project has handed out 4.1 million packages, preventing an estimated 260,000 opioid overdoses. 

The money came from taxpayers and was part of a countrywide settlement arrangement with other pharmaceutical firms.

Last year, lawmakers in California approved spending $30 million on partnering with a pharmaceutical company to produce its own brand of naloxone. 

But they managed to avoid paying that money on that deal because Amneal Pharmaceutical was already way ahead in the FDA clearance process that it didn’t need an initial investment from the state.

Rather, California will buy drugs through a portion of the sums generated by an opioid settlement throughout the country. Naloxone is only a single of the medications pursued by the Newsom’s administration.

Last year, California brokered a ten-year deal with the non-profit Civica to manufacture insulin for treatment of diabetes. California has put aside a total of $100 million for this project, with $50 million for developing medications and the remainder for a production facility. 

Newsom stated that a 10-milliliter vial of state-branded insulin is going to cost $30.Civica has been talking to the FDA and “has an obvious way ahead,” according to Newsom’s administration.

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