By Eliza Gray
December 4, 2014
TIME Health
For more, visit TIME Health.

The heroin overdose “miracle drug” is getting more expensive again.

Police departments are seeing a spike in the cost of Naloxone, the New York Times reports, with prices jumping by 50% or more. In Georgia, police saw kits with the drug go from $22 to $40.

Naloxone has always been subject to dramatic fluctuations in price and availability, restricting access for cash-strapped community organizations who distribute the drug across the U.S. The reasons for the volatility have always been complex and frustratingly opaque. But it may be from lack of competition: Only two companies, Amphastar, which makes a nasal spray, and Hospira, which makes an injectable, manufacture the drug.

MORE: This drug can stop an overdose so why is it so hard to get?

But demand for the drug is also going up: The latest price hike coincides with the proliferation of its distribution through police forces and community health programs. New policies across the country have put the Naloxone nasal spray into the hands of police officers to administer it to people overdosing. Recently passed laws in states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina also made it possible for doctors to prescribe the drug to friends and family of those addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers. Speaking to the Times, the president of Amphastar cited rising annual manufacturing costs for the increase.

Drug overdose has steadily risen to become the leading cause of injury death in the U.S., eclipsing automobile accidents, according to government data. Getting Naloxone into the hands of more first responders has been a priority for the Obama Administration in addressing what Attorney General Eric Holder has called “an urgent public health crisis.”

MORE: Heroin’s resurgence

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