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Post date: February 5 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Agreement To Cut And Cap The Price Of Heroin Overdose Antidote For All Agencies In New York State

Rebate Will Cut Wholesale Price Of Naloxone By Nearly 20 Percent And Cap It, Dollar-For-Dollar, Against Any Price Increases For One Year

Schneiderman: This Agreement Will Secure New York’s Access To Life-Saving Antidote

NEW YORK  – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced an agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to cut and cap the price of naloxone, a highly effective antidote that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose, for all agencies in New York State for the next year. The contract stipulates that Amphastar will offer a $6 rebate per dose, which will also automatically increase, dollar-for-dollar, to match any future growth in the wholesale price. As part of the agreement, this rebate is available not only to the Office of the Attorney General, but also all public entities, including but not limited to the State Department of Health, the City of New York, the governments of individual New York counties, and the drug treatment centers and harm reduction programs they fund.

After Amphastar raised the price of its naloxone products last fall, the Attorney General’s office sent a letter expressing concern that the higher cost could jeopardize access to the antidote in New York State. As a result, Amphastar agreed to provide a rebate that will discount the wholesale price of naloxone by nearly 20 percent. This rebate applies even if the purchasing agency separately negotiated a discount below the published wholesale rate, and regardless of whether the agency buys from Amphastar or a third party.

“It is essential that we secure our state’s access to this powerful, life-saving antidote,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office responded swiftly to negotiate the best possible price of naloxone, which is an essential tool in our multifaceted approach to combat the scourge of heroin abuse in New York. This deal ensures that we can continue to give New Yorkers who have overdosed on opioids a second chance at life—and rehabilitation.”

“As part of the Senate’s ongoing efforts to address the heroin and opioid crisis, my colleagues and I have worked very hard to make life-saving Naloxone more accessible,” explained New York State Senator Kemp Hannon.  “This agreement is another important step, and I commend the Attorney General for his good work.”

"We commend Attorney General Schneiderman for leading the way on making lifesaving naloxone access programs financially sustainable for all New Yorkers in need," said Terrell Jones, a member of VOCAL-NY from the Bronx. "We hope this reflects Amphastar's recognition of the urgent need to offer fair pricing for community-based overdose prevention programs nationwide."

The abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is a growing problem throughout New York and the United States. In 2013, more than half of New York City’s 782 drug-related overdoses were from heroin. The same year, there were almost 20,000 hospitalizations—mostly emergency visits—related to heroin in New York State. Nationwide, fatal overdoses from heroin doubled from 2010-2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that these numbers are still on the rise.

The Attorney General’s Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program, which is supported by $5 million of joint federal-state criminal and civil forfeiture money, provides funding to equip every state and local law-enforcement officer in the state of New York with naloxone. Police departments or appropriate county or city agencies submit receipts to the Attorney General’s office and are reimbursed in full.

To date, the COP program has approved $1.8 million to supply law enforcement departments across the state with naloxone kits and train them in their use.  More than 200 law enforcement agencies have applied to the COP program, which has disbursed more than 27,000 kits in less than a year. Naloxone has been used to reverse overdoses in Buffalo, New Castle, Attica, Oneida, Onondaga County, Staten Island, Madison County, Suffolk County, and elsewhere.

The Attorney General’s office has adopted a comprehensive approach toward reducing heroin and prescription drug abuse in New York State. To date, investigators have broken up 20 of the largest drug and gun trafficking gangs in the state. I-STOP, the nation’s first real-time prescription tracking system for the most addictive prescription drugs, has reduced doctor shopping in New York by 75% in just the first 8 months of the program.

A copy of today’s agreement can be viewed here.