Senate Funds Narcan Bulk Purchasing to Bring Down Cost for Municipalities ~ IN YOUR CORNER with SENATOR KATY IVES

By: State Senator Katy Ives – May, 2018

The State Senate included funding in the Fiscal Year 2018 supplemental budget for the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchase Trust Fund, which allows municipalities to purchase naloxone for municipal first responder agencies at a discounted rate.

I filed an amendment to this supplemental budget that would allocate $150,000 to replenish the naloxone bulk purchase program, administered through the Department of Public Health. Funding in the Trust Fund for cities and towns to buy the anti-overdose drug also known as Narcan, has depleted and the cost has almost doubled during this deadly epidemic.

It’s critical that the cost of purchasing Naloxone stays affordable for our cities and towns, so they’re not subject to financial hardship for their efforts in responding to the opioid crisis and saving lives every day. This funding will bring the cost back down.

The trust fund was created in the FY16 budget to accept payments made by participating municipalities for the purchase of Naloxone. The fund first got $325,000 through a settlement reached by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office in 2015. The agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc. resolved concerns over the sharp price increase for Naloxone in late 2014, when the wholesale price more than doubled from less than $15 per dose to more than $30.

The legislation establishing the trust fund authorizes the Department of Public Health to reduce the cost of naloxone for municipal first responder agencies below the negotiated State Office of Pharmacy Services (SOPS) purchase price. The state buys Narcan in bulk at discounted prices from pharmaceutical companies, using the money from the state municipal naloxone bulk purchase trust fund. The state then passes on the discount to municipalities. With the established trust fund established, the State Office of Pharmacy Services is able to pre‐pay for Naloxone. It is estimated that total savings for municipalities realized through the bulk purchase program was approximately $186,000 in FY 16.

Funding ran out in October of 2017 and without money in the fund, the cost of naloxone for municipalities shot up from $40 to $71.02 for a box of two doses of the nasal spray.

The concept of making bulk purchasing available to municipalities was a budget priority of mine in 2015 and although this is not a panacea for this epidemic it is a lifeline for so many plagued by this disease.

Senator O’Connor Ives can be contacted at: KATHLEEN.OCONNORIVES@MASENATE.GOV