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Published on June 21, 2024
California Rolls Out Affordable CalRx® Naloxone to Combat Opioid Overdoses Amid EpidemicSource: James Heilman, MD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a move to address the ongoing opioid crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the availability of CalRx®-branded naloxone nasal spray, an opioid overdose-reversing medication. As detailed in a statement, eligible organizations in California can now receive the life-saving drug for free through the state's Naloxone Distribution Project (NDP), or purchase it for $24 per twin-pack via Amneal Pharmaceuticals.

The state of California has secured a contract with Amneal to supply the over-the-counter naloxone at a reduced price. Through the Naloxone Access Initiative, California aims to make life-saving drugs more affordable, a strategy that aligns with Governor Newsom's Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crises. "The CalRx brand is more than a logo; it’s a way to show that the state cares," Governor Newsom said. "California is spending smarter by making life-saving drugs more affordable so that we stretch our dollars further – and make that same low price accessible to more people."

Entities interested in obtaining the CalRx® naloxone nasal spray can do so through the California Department of Health Care Services, while individual purchasing options are being developed. The NDP website will provide updates on these options. In May, California's investment in this initiative saved the state approximately $415,000, with about 24,000 units purchased.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, emphasized the importance of naloxone's availability. "By making naloxone widely available and affordable, we are empowering communities and saving lives," he told Gov. Newsom's office. "This is a crucial step in our ongoing efforts to tackle the opioid crisis head-on." Wider access to naloxone is a key component of California's harm reduction strategy, designed to swiftly counteract the effects of an opioid overdose and prevent potential fatalities.

Alongside this initiative, Gov. Newsom has been proactive with the launch of Opioids.CA.GOV, aimed at centralizing information on opioids prevention and treatment for Californians. The state is also advancing its CalRx Biosimilar Insilin Initiative, following productive dialogue with the U.S. FDA, via its partnership with Civica. More information about these initiatives can be found on the California government's official webpage.