How Much Will OTC Narcan Cost?
Narcan is the brand name for a prescription drug called naloxone. As an opioid antagonist, it blocks the effects of opioids. It’s available as a nasal spray and an injectable form. Throughout the opioid crisis, first responders have used this drug to reverse numerous opioid overdoses.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved over-the-counter Narcan nasal spray, an important step toward reducing opioid overdose deaths. Before this life-saving medication hits shelves in late summer, you may want to know how much it will cost.
How Much Will OTC Narcan Cost?
Emergent BioSolutions, the manufacturer of OTC Narcan, is aiming to keep the cost under $50 per kit.
Each kit contains two doses of Narcan. While most overdoses can be reversed with a single dose, some require two, especially those caused by highly potent opioids like fentanyl.
According to Emergent BioSoltuions, the wholesale price of one Narcan kit is $125.
However, the company offers a discounted price for public interest groups, including state and local government agencies, emergency and first responders, and harm reduction programs (programs that offer life-saving products and services to people who use drugs).
This discounted price averages under $50, and the company wants the retail price to be the same.
The actual cost may vary slightly depending on where you get the drug. That’s because each individual retailer (which will include pharmacies, convenience stores, online stores, and vending machines) gets to set the price.
Will Narcan Be Affordable For Those Who Need It?
Paying less than $50 to save someone’s life might seem like a good deal.
However, some addiction specialists feel the price is still too high for many of the people who need Narcan the most.
Indeed, according to a 2019 report, 6 in 10 uninsured adults with opioid use disorder (opioid addiction) have low incomes, with over a third having incomes 100% to 200% under the federal poverty line.
In addition, even people with health insurance coverage may struggle to afford the drug.
Although most insurance plans cover prescription Narcan, they typically don’t cover over-the-counter drugs. Emergent BioSolutions has not yet announced whether insurance companies will cover OTC Narcan. If they won’t, people will have to pay full price for the drug.
Other Ways To Get Narcan
If you can’t afford over-the-counter or prescription Narcan, you might be able to get the drug for free or at a lower cost.
To find free or low-cost Narcan in your area, try searching this online database created by the harm reduction organization NEXT Distro. The database includes harm reduction programs, hospitals, and other places that offer free or affordable Narcan.
If there are no such places in your area, NEXT Distro might be able to mail you the injectable form of naloxone, which is just as effective as Narcan nasal spray.
The organization also has a limited supply of recently expired Narcan nasal spray, which they can mail to qualifying individuals who note that they would prefer it over the injectable form of naloxone.
To find out if you qualify for mail-based injectable naloxone or Narcan nasal spray, fill out the request form on the NEXT Distro’s website.
Local Harm Reduction Programs
You can also search for a local harm reduction program that offers free or low-cost Narcan using this database from the National Harm Reduction Coalition.
Who Should Get Narcan?
Anyone who regularly uses drugs or loves someone who does should consider carrying Narcan. They should also learn the signs of opioid overdose, which include:
- smaller pupils
- pale, clammy, or bluish skin
- bluish lips and/or fingernails
- limp body
- choking or gurgling noises
- slowed or stopped breathing
- slowed or stopped heartbeat
- loss of consciousness
If someone you know experiences these symptoms, immediately call 911 and administer Narcan.
How To Use Narcan
To administer the drug, follow the instructions that came with the product. Different products
may have slightly different instructions. In general, you administer Narcan nasal spray by:
- tilting the person’s head back and using your hand to provide support under the neck
- gently inserting the tip of the nozzle into one nostril
- pressing the plunger firmly to give the dose
- removing the nozzle from the nostril
If the person does not respond within 2 minutes, give another dose.
Narcan can be safely administered to people of all ages, including children and babies. The drug will only work if the person has ingested opioids. If the person has not ingested opioids, the drug will have no effect (positive or negative).
If you or someone you love struggles with opioids or another type of drug, please reach out to Spring Hill Recovery Center. Our inpatient addiction treatment programs offer personalized, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay healthy.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- Emergent BioSolutions — Emergent’s Statement on Over-the-Counter Access, Availability and Pricing of NARCAN® Naloxone HCl Nasal Spray 4 mg https://www.emergentbiosolutions.com/media-statement/emergents-statement-on-over-the-counter-access-availability-and-pricing-of-narcan-naloxone-hcl-nasal-spray-4-mg/
- Kaiser Family Foundation — Key Facts about Uninsured Adults with Opioid Use Disorder https://files.kff.org/attachment/Data-Note-Key-Facts-about-Uninsured-Adults-with-Opioid-Use-Disorder
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Naloxone DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/naloxone
- NBC News — Over-the-counter Narcan to cost less than $50 for a two-pack, company says https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/over-counter-narcan-cost-opioid-overdose-drug-rcna80665
- New York State Department of Health — How to use Narcan® Nasal Spray for an opioid overdose https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/12028.pdf