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 ConwayObama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' Journalists, political heavyweights pay respects to Cokie Roberts: 'A pioneer for so many' Iran's supreme leader rules out talks with US at all levels MORE, the Democrats, led by Reps. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettPelosi woos progressives on prescription drug pricing plan House Democratic Caucus chairman announces support for 'Medicare for All' Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (Texas) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchHouse Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment Overnight Health Care: Oversight chair plans to call drug executives to testify on costs | Biden airs anti-'Medicare for All' video | House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted kids Mueller agrees investigation did not 'fail to turn up evidence of conspiracy' 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 TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border 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.