The overdose-reversal medication Narcan will be available for over-the-counter sale starting in September, the manufacturer of the nasal spray announced on Wednesday.
The Narcan nasal spray has reportedly already been dispatched to pharmacies, drugstores, grocery shops, and online merchants with a presumptive price of $44.99 for a two-dose box, according to biotech company Emergent BioSolutions Inc.
The FDA had already authorised the sale of Narcan without a prescription five months ago.
Advocates consider the announcement to be a turning point that will make it simpler to save lives in the US as the ongoing opioid epidemic claimed more than 100,000 lives in the country in 2021, according to ABC News.
While the bulk of these fatalities were caused by the use or overdose of opioids, particularly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, Emergent BioSolutions found that in the US last year, about one life was lost to an opioid overdose every seven minutes.
Narcan, which is currently available in 4ml doses, is sprayed directly into the nostrils of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
With the help of the main ingredient in the medication — naloxone — the effects of opioids are blocked and breathing is efficiently restored.
The CDC said: “Anyone at risk or who knows someone at risk for an opioid overdose should carry naloxone or keep it in their home.
“It is safe for bystanders to administer the drug to anyone who appears to be experiencing an overdose and will not hurt them if they are not actually overdosing.”
Previously, in 2021, nearly 17 million doses were distributed in the US mostly through local health departments, first responders, schools and other organisations.
Since then, harm reduction groups have urged for easier access to naloxone, particularly in underserved communities.
“A steadfast commitment to expanding access to naloxone has always been at the forefront of our work to help save lives and we’re proud to bring Narcan Nasal Spray to many, many more places,” Paul Williams, senior vice president of products business at Emergent BioSolutions said in a statement.