Pharmacy Chains to Sell Narcan for Overdoses Over the Counter

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Aug. 30, 2023 -- Narcan, the drug used to reverse opioid overdoses, will be sold at three pharmacy chains without a prescription starting next month, the companies say.

Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid will sell Narcan for $44.99, company spokespeople told USA Today. The nasal spray brand of the drug naloxone will be available in stores and online.

Earlier this year, the FDA approved selling the nasal spray over the counter to fight opioid overdoses. Those include overdoses of heroin, prescription opioid medicine, and fentanyl.

“We are committed to educating and making it easier for all Americans to have this life-saving medicine available in their first aid kits in case of an emergency,” Kevin Ban, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Walgreens, said in a statement.

More than 67,000 preventable deaths from fentanyl occurred in 2021, says the National Safety Council – an increase of 21% from the previous year. 

The spray should be used as soon as someone shows signs of an opioid overdose. The medicine does not replace emergency medical care, and anyone administering it should call 911 first.

“This community-first effort with Walgreens will hopefully empower everyone to feel comfortable carrying and administering naloxone nasal spray,” said Theo Krzywicki, CEO and founder of End Overdose, a non-profit working with Walgreens. “Just as you might carry other first aid items, this can and should be something that is accessible to all.”