After a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted to make the nasal spray version of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) available without a prescription, experts say the medication’s cost will determine how many people can benefit from it.
The FDA plans to make a decision whether to make Narcan available over-the-counter by the end of March. “For people who can afford the formulations of Narcan that are advancing towards over-the-counter status, I think this is a step forward to naloxone access,” Dr. Brian Hurley, president-elect of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, told NPR. “Having additional pathways for people to be able to reverse opioid overdose is important.”
Hurley noted that making Narcan over-the-counter is not the only step needed. “What this won’t do is solve the problem of getting naloxone to under-resourced individuals and families in communities, where the risk of overdose is highest, because they have to go in and pay for it,” he said.