PHOENIX — Avella has announced it will distribute naloxone, a powerful therapy used to treat opioid overdoses, as part of an innovative new program designed to improve access to the drug.
The program allows individuals and family members in certain states to simply contact the pharmacy and order the drug by phone, with no physician prescription needed. In these circumstances, one of Avella’s pharmacists will actually supply the prescription if they determine that EVZIO (naloxone HCl injection) or another naloxone therapy is appropriate.
This effort will help support the Surgeon General’s mission urging more Americans to learn how to use naloxone and carry it with them, especially if they have a loved one dependent on or addicted to opioids, including heroin or prescription pain medications. The Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams recently issued an advisory detailing the importance of this drug in saving lives in the wake of the opioid epidemic.
According to a related statement authored by Adams, “Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose — that’s one person every 12.5 minutes. It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77% of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home.”
In an effort to help improve access to this life-saving drug, Avella will make naloxone available without a physician prescription in certain states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio. Avella will also work with patients to secure drug coverage for the therapy whenever appropriate, and is committed to following all payor formularies to ensure appropriate access to this therapy. Patients can call 877-883-8946 to access the drug. Avella’s pharmacists and support staff are also trained in helping these individuals learn how to safely utilize the medication supplied in the event of an overdose. These services are made possible through Avella’s new Virtual Standing Order program. However, individuals are encouraged to see their doctor whenever possible to secure access to this medication along with other life-saving treatment recommendations for opioid use disorders.
“It is very exciting to have another option available to us as we look to help patients deal with the devastating effects of addiction and prevent avoidable deaths,” said Eric Sredzinski, executive vice president of Clinical Affairs and Quality Assurance for Avella. “Thanks to this program, our team will be able to prescribe and dispense the appropriate naloxone therapy based on each patient’s unique needs as well as their insurance coverage.”
EVZIO is a prescription medicine used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioids during an overdose or potential overdose, as indicated by breathing problems and severe sleepiness or unresponsiveness in a known opioid user. Individuals who administer the drug should seek emergency medical assistance right away after the first dose, even if the person experiencing the overdose awakens. The drug is designed to be easy to use, as it is administered through a pre-filled injector that can be used over clothing if necessary, even denim, and whether the individual is face up or down. It is also easy to carry, fitting in most pockets, and should always be stored in a place where it can be accessed quickly in the event of an overdose.
“We are in the midst of the largest and most widespread drug addiction crisis our nation has ever experienced,” said Rebecca Shanahan, chief executive officer of Avella. “As such, Avella is dedicated to improving access to this life-saving medication however we can. This includes everything from working with our patients to help secure approval for drug coverage by their insurance company to fulfilling request for naloxone without a physician prescription when appropriate.”