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Expanding access to life-saving naloxone for all Californians

Press Release: CalRx® branded naloxone now available for $24

$24 Over-the-Counter Naloxone by CalRx®

The ongoing opioid overdose crisis across the nation demands affordable, equitable access to the right treatment – lives hang in the balance. Naloxone is a medicine that can reverse an overdose and help save lives, and it is crucial to make it easier for everyone to get.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) significantly enhanced the accessibility of the life-saving drug naloxone by approving an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal spray. However, its affordability continued to pose a problem. To address this, California launched the CalRx® Naloxone Access Initiative.

Now, all business and governmental entities in California can buy OTC naloxone nasal spray at a reduced price of $24 per twin-pack. Qualifying entities can still obtain naloxone for free through California’s Naloxone Distribution Project (NDP). For more information on how to get naloxone through CalRx® or the NDP, please click the button below.

“By securing naloxone at this unprecedented price, we’re not just saving money, we’re saving lives.”

Governor Gavin Newsom

Example nasal spray device with the CalRx logo on it. Caption reads "Naloxone Saves Lives"

Naloxone is a crucial tool in combating the opioid epidemic.

Why is this initiative so important?

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities across the United States. The California Department of Public Health’s Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard provides data on opioid overdoses in California over the past three years and highlights that the crisis has resulted in a significant increase in opioid-related overdoses and deaths, creating a public health emergency that requires urgent access.

Fentanyl is the most commonly involved opioid in overdose deaths in California, accounting for 63% of opioid overdose deaths in 2020.  There are significant geographic disparities in opioid overdose rates in California, with some counties experiencing much higher overdose rates than others.

Naloxone is a highly effective tool in reversing opioid overdoses and preventing fatalities. Naloxone works by quickly blocking the effects of opioids in the body and restoring normal breathing, providing a critical window of time for emergency medical intervention.

How can an affordable naloxone nasal product make a difference?

Affordability plays a vital role in ensuring widespread access to naloxone, particularly for vulnerable populations such as low-income, uninsured, or underinsured individuals.

High-cost barriers can limit access to naloxone, exacerbating the crisis and preventing individuals from obtaining this life-saving medication when they need it the most.

Access to affordable naloxone is crucial because it empowers not only medical professionals but also individuals, families, and community members to respond effectively to opioid overdoses in real-time, potentially saving lives.

Will I need a prescription to purchase CalRx® Naloxone?

No, CalRx® naloxone is an over-the-counter product and can be purchased without a prescription.

How is CalRx® able to offer this price?

In our meetings with respondents to our RFI, we focused on CalRx’s dedication to offering crucial medications at the lowest price. We highlighted the importance of affordability and clear pricing without relying on rebates or coupons. CalRx’s main goal for the CalRx® Naloxone Access Initiative was to lower the cost of naloxone to improve its accessibility for all Californians. 

Amneal Pharmaceuticals demonstrated a shared vision in this regard, particularly for the accessibility of naloxone, a critical life-saving drug. They proposed a collaborative effort with the state to ensure this drug’s broad availability. 

The $24 price point represents a more affordable cost, while enabling a top generic pharmaceutical manufacturer to enter the CalRx® naloxone market and promote competition. CalRx®, in its dedication to transparency, is passing along these cost efficiencies to all governmental and business entities across California, guaranteeing a uniform price free from any hidden rebates or discounts. 

Learn more about what California is doing to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

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