FGGAM NEWS Just received this news release from the NM Dept. of Health:
Department of Health Reports Increase in Pharmacies Dispensing Naloxone
(Santa Fe) – The Department of Health reported a significant increase in the number of naloxone prescriptions dispensed from local community pharmacies. Naloxone is an easy to use, safe and effective medication that can rapidly begin reversing the effects of an opioid overdose for about 30-60 minutes, sufficient time to get the person to emergency care and potentially save their life. New Mexico had the second highest overdose death rate in the nation for 2014. The majority of overdose deaths involved heroin or a prescription opioid.
One of the state’s overdose prevention strategies is to expand access to naloxone and increase the amount of naloxone being dispensed from community pharmacies. There were 285 Medicaid claims from 35 pharmacies for naloxone in the first quarter of 2016. This almost equals the total number of naloxone Medicaid claims for all of 2015, which was 288 claims. This represents a fivefold increase in the amount of naloxone being dispensed from pharmacies compared to the first quarter of last year. There were only 59 naloxone claims provided via Medicaid from pharmacies in the first quarter of 2015.
The Department of Health attributes this increase to recent legislation that expand access to naloxone through the use of standing orders and a rise in overdose prevention education and awareness. Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 277, sponsored by Representative Terry H. McMillan, MD, and Senate Bill 262, sponsored by Senator Richard C. Martinez on March 4, 2016. The two mirror-bills authorize licensed prescribers to write standing orders to prescribe, dispense, or distribute naloxone to community-based overdose prevention and education programs, first responders, and individuals at risk of experiencing or witnessing an opioid-related overdose.
On March 18, 2016, the Department of Health issued a statewide standing order allowing all registered pharmacists in New Mexico to dispense naloxone to any person at risk for experiencing or potentially witnessing an opioid overdose. Several pharmacies statewide are implementing the standing order and dispensing naloxone. Additionally, the Department welcomes recent announcements made by two large pharmacy chains (Walgreens and CVS) that naloxone is now available in their pharmacies.
“Overdose death impacts every community in New Mexico and requires community-wide efforts and collaboration to combat this epidemic,” said Department of Health Secretary Designate Lynn Gallagher. “Pharmacies provide an ideal setting for both patients and families to access naloxone and overdose prevention education and this is a great example of how multiple community partners can participate in reducing overdose deaths.”
While this recent increase in pharmacy-based naloxone is encouraging, the naloxone Medicaid claims came from 35 pharmacies across the state. This represents only 10% of all pharmacies in the state. In order to continue to increase the availability of naloxone and increase the number of pharmacies dispensing naloxone, the Department of Health and the Human Services Department are working with pharmacies across the state to implement the statewide standing order for naloxone.