The opioid overdose antidote Narcan will be available to purchase over the counter in a few days, making it the first treatment of its kind accessible to the public without a prescription.
In a statement Wednesday, manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions announced the first batch of the nasal spray has “officially” shipped to leading drug stores, pharmacies, groceries and online retailers.
The original version of the prescription-strength Naloxone 4mg nasal spray, whose brand name is Narcan, will be available beginning in September. The suggested retail price for the two-dose package of Narcan is $44.99.
Major retailers including CVS, Walmart and Walgreens have said they expect Narcan to be available online and in many stores early next week.
Narcan can potentially reverse the effects of overdoses from opioids, including fentanyl. Fatal overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years, becoming the current leading cause of accidental deaths, Emergent said in its statement.
At the time of Narcan’s approval, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf lauded the move as a step in the right direction in addressing the overdose epidemic and pledged to continue to prioritize access to the drug.
“The FDA remains committed to addressing the evolving complexities of the overdose crisis. As part of this work, the agency has used its regulatory authority to facilitate greater access to naloxone by encouraging the development of and approving an over-the-counter naloxone product to address the dire public health need,” Califf said in March.