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Out-of-Pocket Costs for Naloxone Up for Uninsured Patients

For 2018 compared with 2014, mean out-of-pocket cost of naloxone increased by 506 percent among uninsured patients

TUESDAY, Aug. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The out-of-pocket (OOP) cost for naloxone has grown and poses a substantial barrier to access for uninsured patients, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in JAMA Health Forum.

Evan D. Peet, Ph.D., from RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, and colleagues assessed trends in OOP costs for naloxone and examined variation in OOP costs by drug brand and payer. The analysis included 719,612 U.S. naloxone claims from Symphony Health (2010 through 2018).

The researchers found that the number of naloxone claims among insured patients began rapidly increasing after 2014. Simultaneously, the mean OOP cost of naloxone increased dramatically among the uninsured population. The mean OOP cost of naloxone decreased by 26 percent for 2018 compared with 2014 among those with insurance but increased by 506 percent among uninsured patients, with cost varying by brand. The mean OOP cost for Evzio in 2016 among uninsured patients rose to $2,136.37 (a 2,429 percent increase versus 2015) compared with the mean cost of generic naloxone, $72.88, and the cost of Narcan in its first year, $87.95.

“The findings indicated that the OOP cost of naloxone had been an increasingly substantial barrier to naloxone access for uninsured patients, potentially limiting use among this population, which constituted approximately 20 percent of adults with opioid use disorder,” the authors write.

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