Dems press Trump officials to reduce price of opioid reversal drug

Dems press Trump officials to reduce price of opioid reversal drug
© Greg Nash

A group of House Democrats wants the Trump administration to use federal authority to lower the price of naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.

In a letter to White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayFederal guidance identifying 'go back to where you came from' as discrimination goes viral after Trump comments Kellyanne Conway says she meant 'no disrespect' with question about reporter's ethnicity Kellyanne Conway asks reporter 'what's your ethnicity' while defending Trump's 'go back' comments about minority lawmakers MORE, the Democrats, led by Reps. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Speaker Pelosi, seize the moment to make history on drug pricing House Democrats sue Treasury to turn over Trump tax returns MORE (Texas) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Sanders: 'I'm only grumpy most of the time' Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (Vt.), said manufacturers of naloxone are raising prices simply because there’s high demand for the lifesaving drug.

“Federal agencies have the authority to use patented inventions … when in the interest of the public good,” the lawmakers wrote. “The current opioid crisis requires invoking this provision.”

The letter comes as the Trump administration is embarking on a push to reduce the prices of prescription drugs, which includes publicly calling out companies that raise prices without justification.

The lawmakers said the administration could use federal rules to acquire the patent for naloxone, which comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray, and then contract with a generic manufacturer to produce a cheaper alternative.

Last month, Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a rare public health advisory calling on more Americans to carry the medication. He noted, in particular, that it’s important for friends and family of those at risk of an opioid overdose to have naloxone on hand.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE’s opioid commission called on the president to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, which the commission said could “empower the [Health and Human Services] Secretary to negotiate reduced pricing [of naloxone] for all governmental units.”

A public health emergency for opioid abuse was declared in late October and renewed again in January, but it doesn’t appear that the government has negotiated down the price of the drug, which the senators say has increased.