Production issues have led to injectable naloxone shortage, Pfizer says

Production issues with Pfizer's injectable version of naloxone, a lifesaving overdose reversal drug, has caused a shortage of the drug, affecting healthcare providers across the country, The Boston Globe reported Aug. 2. 

Pfizer told the Globe that its single-dose vial version of naloxone is temporarily out because of a manufacturing issue that it's been working with the FDA to solve. 

Pfizer has a deal with the Opioid Safety and Supply Network Buyer’s Club, which supplies injectable naloxone to 108 organizations in 39 states. It distributed 1.3 million doses of naloxone in 2020, the Globe reported. 

Pfizer said it doesn't expect any more single-dose vials of naloxone to be available until the fall, and it may not be back to uninterrupted levels until February 2022. The current naloxone shortage is the worst the U.S. has seen since 2012, according to Filter magazine, cited by the Globe

Other drugmakers make and sell single-vial versions of injectable naloxone, but Pfizer was the main supplier for the Buyer's Club, the Globe reported. A spray form of the drug is easier to use, but is more expensive. 

The naloxone shortage comes as overdose deaths reach a new record, with 93,000 recorded in 2020, a nearly 30 percent jump from the year prior. 

Read the full Boston Globe article here

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