Study: Average price of naloxone jumps 500% for uninsured Americans

RAND Corp. research indicates that the cost puts the antidote out of reach for some with opioid use disorder


By Leila Merrill

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The price of naloxone for uninsured Americans may be putting it out of reach for some at risk of opioid overdoses, according to the results of a study released Friday.

The new RAND Corporation study found that the average out-of-pocket cost per naloxone prescription among those who have health insurance fell 26% from 2014 to 2018.

Out-of-pocket costs for people with insurance fell, but for those without, the average price rose by more than 500%.
Out-of-pocket costs for people with insurance fell, but for those without, the average price rose by more than 500%. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

But out-of-pocket costs rose by more than 500% for uninsured people. Uninsured Americans represent about 20% of adults with opioid-use disorders and nearly one-third of opioid overdose deaths.

In 2014, the average out-of-pocket cost for a naloxone prescription among insured people was $27, but it was $35 for uninsured patients. In 2018, the average price for an insured person was $18, while among the uninsured, it was $250.

The number of naloxone prescriptions in the sample rose from 11,432 in 2010 to 386,249 in 2018.

The findings are in the JAMA Health Forum.

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