Aetna to waive copays for opioid overdose antidote Narcan: 3 things to know

Aetna will waive copays for Narcan, a brand-name drug used to reverse opioid overdose, for its fully-insured commercial members.

Here are three things to know about the policy change.

1. Beginning Jan. 1, Aetna will become the first national payer to waive Narcan's copay. The move aims to increase access to the lifesaving antidote. Narcan administers one dose of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversing medicine, through the nose of a person overdosing on opioids. 

2. An analysis by Narcan found 35 percent of Aetna members prescribed the drug between January and June this year did not pick up the prescription. One factor, Aetna said, is cost. Data revealed if Narcan had a copay between $100 and $150, members had a 76.7 percent prescription abandonment rate. This rate fell to 46.1 percent when the copay dropped to between $40 and $50.

3. In addition to the waived copay, Aetna will cap the number of opioids prescribed for acute pain and post-surgery patients to a seven-day supply. This change is also effective at the start of next year.

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