Emergent Launches OTC Narcan to Fight Opioid Overdose Crisis

Emergent BioSolutions, OTC drug, Opioid Overdose, Narcan, nasal spray

Emergent BioSolutions has initiated the rollout of an over-the-counter (OTC) iteration of its opioid overdose treatment, Narcan, amplifying its focus on empowering individuals to safeguard their loved ones. With the compelling tagline “anyone can save a life,” Emergent’s move signifies a critical step toward combating opioid-related crises more inclusively.

“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. 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 home – having the power to save a life of someone you love, someone you know, or someone that may need another chance.”

– Dr. Bonnie Milas, Penn Medicine physician and professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Critical Car

Following its FDA approval in March, the OTC Narcan has become a cornerstone of Emergent’s strategic path to profitability. The company has revised its full-year projection for Narcan sales, elevating the target range to $425 million to $445 million, with a notable $65 million addition catalyzed by factors including the OTC launch.

In preparation for its imminent market entry, Emergent has initiated shipments of OTC Narcan to prominent retail outlets, encompassing mass, drug, pharmacy, and grocery stores, alongside online retailers. The retail availability is slated for early September, accompanied by a suggested retail price of $44.99, translating to $22.50 per dose.

While Emergent has predominantly distributed Narcan through local health departments, harm reduction organizations, schools, and community entities, the OTC transition introduces fresh dynamics in commercialization. 

This strategic shift positions Emergent at the forefront of a pioneering venture, departing from its prescription-focused arena. However, this exclusive stance is set to be transient, as Harm Reduction Therapeutics—an entity backed in part by Purdue Pharma—has secured FDA approval for an OTC product and is poised to debut it in early 2024.

“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. 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.”

– Paul Williams, senior vice president, products business

Emergent’s drive to democratize access to life-saving interventions signals a transformative approach in the battle against the opioid crisis. The OTC Narcan’s imminent arrival on shelves ignites hope for a future where rapid response and intervention are not limited to medical professionals, but are readily accessible to anyone willing to take action.

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