Emergent BioSolutions' Narcan Nasal Spray launches OTC, retailers announce availability

Emergent has shipped its OTC Narcan Naloxone HCl Nasal Spray 4 mg to mass drug, pharmacy and grocery stores, as well as online retailers.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
narcan teaser

Emergent BioSolutions announced that Narcan Naloxone HCl Nasal Spray 4 mg will be available on shelves nationwide and online beginning in September.

Over-the-counter access to Narcan Nasal Spray offers more people the ability to respond in an opioid emergency, helping to save lives and keep loved ones and communities safe. Expanding access and awareness is critical given the staggering toll of the epidemic mainly driven by synthetic opioids, like fentanyl. Last year, approximately every seven minutes one life was lost due to an opioid overdose, and today it is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. The average response time for emergency services to arrive is approximately 10 minutes, the company said. 

Having Narcan Nasal Spray in a first-aid kit, or carrying it on the go in case of an opioid emergency, can make a difference and help reverse the effects of opioids while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, the company added.

[Read more: REX Awards 2022: OTC and Preventive Health]

“As a medical professional and mom who experienced the unthinkable and lost both of her sons to accidental overdose, I know you can’t put a price on peace of mind and there is no act too great to protect family,” said Bonnie Milas, Penn Medicine physician and professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Critical Care. “Picking up NARCAN Nasal Spray at the store is not a sign that your family has “a problem,” in fact it shows you are prepared just in case. It’s like buying a fire extinguisher to have at homehaving the power to save a life of someone you love, someone you know, or someone that may need another chance.”

With the same safe and effective 4 mg formulation, device design and original prescription strength, Narcan Nasal Spray can reverse the effects of opioids, including fentanyl, the company said.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of Narcan Nasal Spray is $44.99 per carton, which is equivalent to roughly $22.50 per dose. While Emergent works with partners to help maintain access and affordability, the price of the product is set by individual retailers.

“A steadfast commitment to expanding access to naloxone has always been at the forefront of our work to help save lives and we’re proud to bring Narcan Nasal Spray to many, many more places,” said Paul Williams, senior vice president of products business. “Expanding availability to online and in-store shelves, increasing awareness and education to reduce stigma, and calling on the public to be prepared, is additive to the current work Emergent does every single day to stem the tide of this public health threat. On the eve of International Overdose Awareness Day, we stand by our ongoing efforts with advocates, patients, customers and policy stakeholders to implement efforts that enhance naloxone distribution to all those in need.”

Retailers, including Walgreens and Kinney Drugs, announced plans to make OTC Narcan Nasal Spray available.

Walgreens said it is taking an important step to increase access to and education around naloxone by announcing that OTC Narcan Nasal Spray will be available at Walgreens stores and online as soon as Sept. 5, with nationwide availability on Sept. 7.

“We are committed to educating and making it easier for all Americans to have this life-saving medicine available in their first aid kits in case of an emergency,” said Kevin Ban, executive vice president and Walgreens chief medical officer. “We all must recognize that overdoses can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background or other factors. As a leading healthcare company, providing access to OTC naloxone creates an opportunity for bystanders, friends and family members to potentially save a life. In the event of an overdose, every second matters.”

"Naloxone should be administered as soon as someone shows signs of an opioid overdose and does not take the place of emergency medical care. It’s important to call 911 immediately," the company stated.

OTC Narcan Nasal Spray will retail at Walgreens stores for $44.99.

To educate the public on how to use this lifesaving nasal spray, Walgreens is working with End Overdose, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending drug-related overdose deaths through education, medical intervention and public awareness.

Together, Walgreens and End Overdose have created an educational preparedness video that explains how an overdose can happen anywhere and affect anyone, how to recognize an overdose and how to respond with naloxone nasal spray. This video is available on Walgreens YouTube channel and walgreens.com/topic/pharmacy/naloxone.jsp.

[Read more: Walgreens hosts discussion on the evolution of pharmacists as community healthcare providers]

“This community-first effort with Walgreens will hopefully empower everyone to feel comfortable carrying and administering naloxone nasal spray,” said Theo Krzywicki, CEO and founder of End Overdose. “Just as you might carry other first aid items, this can and should be something that is accessible to all.”

In addition to the awareness video, Walgreens is making a $100,000 donation to End Overdose to support its continuing efforts in educating the public on how to use this life-saving nasal spray and de-stigmatizing the conversation around overdose and substance use disorder.

As part of the company’s other ongoing efforts to address unsafe drug use, Walgreens offers a National Prescription Drug Take Back program. The program encourages the public to collect unwanted, unused or expired medications for safe disposal at no cost, year-round by visiting a Walgreens safe medication disposal kiosk during regular pharmacy hours. Kiosk locations can be found on walgreens.com via the store locator.

Kinney Drugs also announced it will offer Narcan Nasal Spray. "There are many causes of opioid overdose emergencies. Most often, they happen accidentally at home in the presence of others. As the average response time for emergency services is approximately 10 minutes, having Narcan Nasal Spray in a first-aid kit can help reverse the effects of opioids while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. Narcan has no effect on someone who is not experiencing an opioid overdose," the company said.

[Read more: Kinney Drugs completes installation of medication collection kiosks in all 75 NY locations]

“The opioid crisis is one of the largest public health issues of our time and it’s continuing to escalate with the rise of synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl. Narcan Nasal Spray saves lives, and we want to support Narcan accessibility for the health of our customers and communities,” said John Marraffa, president of Kinney Drugs. “Therefore, we worked very hard to be one of the first pharmacies in the United States to offer Narcan Nasal Spray over the counter. It’s so appropriate that the day it hits our shelves is Aug. 31, which is International Overdose Awareness Day.”

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