Ohio AG and Naloxone producer in talks

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the maker of a lifesaving overdose antidote — a drug whose price has doubled in recent months — are in talks about a possible price rebate, a spokeswoman for DeWine said.

“We are currently still in discussions with the company,” Jill Del Greco said in an email Wednesday, referring to talks between DeWine’s office and Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Asked if DeWine were available for comment, she said: “I don’t think there is anything new we could tell you at this point.”

DeWine wrote to Jack Zhang, chief executive of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based Amphastar on Feb. 13, asking for a price rebate on the antidote. DeWine noted in that letter that the company had recently agreed to reduce the price of the drug — called Narcan or Naloxone — with the state of New York. DeWine sought a similar deal for Ohio.

Hospitals and first responders across the country use Naloxone to counter the effects of an overdose on opiates such as heroin. The drug temporarily revives addicts, giving police and emergency workers time to save lives, DeWine and others have said.

A Dayton police lieutenant told the Dayton Daily News last week that since last fall, Dayton police officers have used the drug 30 times, 27 times successfully.

In the past year or so, the price of Naloxone has doubled or more than doubled, emergency workers have said. DeWine told the newspaper last week that he doesn’t know the reason for the price increase.

“What I do know is, it’s saving a lot of lives,” the attorney general said at the time. “I know it’s expensive for law enforcement agencies to carry it.”

Colleen Smith, Samaritan Behavioral Health director of substance abuse services, said that last fall she could buy 10 tubes of Naloxone for $188.33. In January, the price for 10 tubes was $293.55.

By early February, 10 tubes cost $377.14, she said.

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