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Iowa AG Reaches Deal for Cheaper Opioid Overdose Antidote

Tom Wolf
A form of naloxone

Iowa’s attorney general has struck a new deal with a drugmaker to make an opioid overdose reversal drug more affordable.

Public agencies in Iowa, including law enforcement and public hospitals, will pay less for naloxone through a rebate agreement with Amphastar.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says first responders in the state have been using naloxone to save lives.

"As those products became more in use and, in a sense, became more valuable because they were saving lives, there was significant increases in price," Miller says. "And we in the attorney general’s office have become concerned about that and entered into negotiations with various companies."

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, first responders reported a nearly 70 percent increase in treating opioid overdoses from 2010 to 2015.

Dale Woolery is associate director at the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. He says he sees three main parts of addressing the opioid crisis: rescue, recovery and reduction.

"But the rescue piece is reliant, in large part, on these types of products being available to these experts and many others around the state," Woolery says. "And we know they work." 

Woolery says restricting access to naloxone can be an impediment in fighting the opioid epidemic.

Private citizens and community organizations will still have to pay the full price for naloxone.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter