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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 ConwayGeorge Conway: Trump's 'influence will wane as he fades into history as a pariah' Pence's relationship with Trump fractures in final days Kellyanne Conway condemns violence, supports Trump in statement on Capitol riots MORE, the Democrats, led by Reps. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettAn attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation Capitol Police say reports of officer's death are wrong Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act MORE (Texas) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary 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.”

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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 TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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.