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 ConwayWhite House seeks to clarify Trump remarks on emergency Trump says he 'didn't need to' declare emergency but wanted 'faster' action Trump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' MORE, the Democrats, led by Reps. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettDems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump official says agency would not have supported family separations | 2020 Dems walk fine line on 'Medicare for all' | Advocates skeptical of Trump AIDS pledge | Johnson and Johnson to show drug prices on TV Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices MORE (Texas) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Bipartisan House group heads to Camp David retreat Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices 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 TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview 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.