Fact Check: Naloxone shortage?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A dangerous shortage of a life-saving drug. Maybe you’ve seen the headlines. We’re talking about naloxone. You may also know it by the brand name NARCAN®. It’s a medicine that can reverse drug overdoses. It’s something law enforcement now carries with them everywhere they go.

"Did you take anything today?" Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Alexarae Tschorke asked an unresponsive man when responding to a call in the Town of Sweden earlier this year.

Naloxone has saved countless lives in our community. In this case, the young man regained consciousness after deputies administered NARCAN®.

Are we running out of the life-saving drug locally? News10NBC reached out to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Rochester Police Department, the Heroin Task Force and Gates to Recovery. All organizations tell us they have an adequate supply.

So what’s with all the headlines about a shortage? The issue involves Pfizer’s single-dose injectable naloxone. A manufacturing issue stopped its production earlier this year. It’s this specific drug that was offered at a discounted rate to a national buyer’s club called The Opioid Safety and Naloxone Network (OSNN).

The OSNN Buyers Club has purchased and distributed four million doses of generic injectable naloxone to harm reduction programs across the country between 2017 and 2021. But here’s the deal. There is not a shortage of nasal naloxone, which is what our local law enforcement uses for overdoses.

"Once you insert it in the nose, probably within a couple seconds, they’re starting to come to," explained Deputy Tschorke.

OSNN officials say programs receiving support from their state/local health departments and programs distributing nasal naloxone, like in New York State, are not affected by the shortage.

Again, the naloxone shortage is not impacting us in the Rochester area. We should point out there are several other drug manufacturers with naloxone products, and it has not been added to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s shortage list.


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