Amid a sudden, sharp increase in the price of a heroin antidote medication, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote the chief executive of a company that makes the drug, demanding an explanation for an “unacceptable” rise, the New York Times reports. The strongly worded letter amplified a growing chorus of complaints by the police and public health officials from Georgia to San Francisco about a jump in the cost of the drug, naloxone, which counteracts the effect of a heroin or opioid painkiller overdose. In some cases, the price more than doubled to $34.50 per dose.
While the drug comes in injectable and intranasal forms, most police departments use a high-concentration formulation made by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals that can be sprayed into the nostril with an atomizer attachment. It is that generic version of the drug that has steeply increased in price in recent weeks. Faced with a crisis of painkiller and heroin addiction, law enforcement departments across the U.S. began outfitting officers with naloxone kits to reverse overdoses encountered on patrol. In New York, the department pledged this spring to provide its roughly 19,500 patrol officers with the drug after a successful pilot program on Staten Island.