The first over-the-counter drug to reverse opioid overdoses hit shelves this week in what many are hoping is a major step in preventing unnecessary deaths. Naloxone, or the brand name Narcan, will have a suggested price of $44.99 per carton of two doses and will initially be available online and in stores from Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and CVS. Narcan is a nasal spray, that once administered, can reverse the effects of opioids in minutes. No prescription is needed for individuals to purchase Narcan.
Due to the increasing popularity of fentanyl, and the record high deaths it has caused, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan as an over-the-counter drug in March. While many have found this development promising, others are skeptical that the widespread availability won’t cause major changes since the drug is not only pricey, but many who actually need the drug won’t go into pharmacies to get it.
Overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. and the fourth-leading cause of death overall in the country.