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Incoming Senators Question Narcan Price Spikes

Pressure is mounting on Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to explain pricing spikes on the potentially life-saving heroin antidote it manufactures known as naloxone, or narcan.
Pressure is mounting on Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to explain pricing spikes on the potentially life-saving heroin antidote it manufactures known as naloxone, or narcan. Photo Credit: File

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- Pressure is mounting on Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to explain price spikes for naloxone, the potentially life-saving heroin antidote the company manufactures under the brand name Narcan.

This week two newly elected state senators and two county executives, all from the Hudson Valley, penned a warning letter to Amphastar CEO Jack Zhang.

The effort was coordinated by Terrence Murphy, the incoming state Senator for New York's 40th District, which includes Putnam, Dutchess and Westchester counties. The area has the ignominious distinction of sitting on the federal government's list of high-intensity drug trafficking areas.

"It is quite clear to the federal government, state government, local governments and to the families in these areas we are facing a devastating epidemic which continues to take lives from all corners of our communities," Murphy said.

Murphy's cosignatories were his colleague, state Senator-elect Sue Serino of Dutchess County, as well as Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. The letter noted the price of this antidote that can save lives has risen steeply, even doubling in some states.

"Our first responders simply must be able to use Narcan if lives are going to be saved," Odell said. "We have already lost too many of our young people already to heroin. Our War on Addiction can't be won if we don't have the proper weapons at our disposal."

"This is about saving lives. I have been trained and certified to use Narcan in emergency situations and have served on the Senate's Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction where we led the effort to supply first responders with this lifesaving drug," Murphy said. "As a Yorktown Councilman, we fought to secure funding for a local narcotics unit, which led to more efficient and effective coordination between local and county law enforcement entities. All these efforts will be undermined if the price of Narcan, which has spiked inexplicably, becomes too steep for our first responders."

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