Converting naloxone to OTC expected to increase sales

February 27, 2019

(HealthDay)—The demand for naloxone is relatively inelastic with respect to changes in its out-of-pocket price, and conversion to an over-the-counter medication is expected to increase naloxone pharmacy sales, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in Health Services Research.

Sean M. Murphy, Ph.D., from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues used data from a nationwide prescription claims dataset for 2010 to 2017. The dataset covers 80 percent of U.S. retail pharmacies and about 90 percent of prescriptions filled. A longitudinal, simultaneous equation model of supply and demand was estimated.

The researchers found that a 1 percent increase in out-of-pocket price paid for naloxone would result in a decrease of 0.27 percent in sales on average. Following conversion to over-the-counter status, the authors predict that the total quantity of naloxone sold in pharmacies will increase between 15 and 179 percent.

"Converting naloxone from prescription-only to status is likely to lead to a substantial increase in total pharmacy sales," the authors write. "All else constant, as the prevalence of naloxone increases among the general public, so too should the opportunities to reverse , thereby giving overdose survivors another chance to initiate treatment."

One author disclosed financial ties to Sandoz.

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Journal information: Health Services Research

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