Maryland pharmaceutical company buys maker of overdose reversal drug Narcan for $735 million (Baltimore Sun)

A Gaithersburg pharmaceutical company with significant Baltimore operations has acquired the maker of Narcan, a widely used opioid overdose reversal drug, and said it plans to develop more products to combat the nation’s opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

Emergent Biosolutions will pay $735 million in cash and stock to acquire Adapt Pharma, the Dublin, Ireland-based maker of Narcan. Officials of the Maryland company said Narcan, the brand name for the nasal spray version of naloxone, fits into its business of developing and producing countermeasures for biological, chemical and infectious disease threats for government and other customers.

The Baltimore City Health Department like most other public health programs buys the less expensive Narcan for a negotiated price of $75 for a two-dose kit, but struggles to round up state, federal and private grants to maintain its stocks.

Dr. Leana Wen, the city health commissioner, said if the city followed the U.S. surgeon general’s recommendation that everyone have the drug on hand for emergencies, then Baltimore would have to spend $49 million, which is twice the city’s entire public health budget.

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When I’ve asked experts about these approaches, it’s not that any of them are bad. It’s that they fall short. For instance, Leana Wen, the former health commissioner of Baltimore (and soon-to-be president of Planned Parenthood), said that the Support for Patients and Communities Act “is simply tinkering around the edges.”

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