Medicaid spending on naloxone increased 13,500% in recent years, study finds

Medicaid spending on opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone shot up from $110,000 in 2010 to close to $15 million in 2018, according to a study released Aug. 26 by Washington, D.C. think tank the Urban Institute.

The study also discovered a 7,050 percent increase in the number of Medicaid naloxone prescriptions, with the total skyrocketing from 3,300 in 2010 to more than 236,000 in 2018. 

Much of the spending went toward Narcan, the naloxone nasal spray that can treat opioid overdose in emergency situations. In 2010, almost every naloxone prescription was for a generic version of the drug. However, generic prescriptions made up only 11 percent of total naloxone prescriptions in 2018, with the rest being issued for Narcan.

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