Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently asked Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to provide rebates to government agencies that purchased the drug naloxone after the company hiked its prices for the heroin overdose drug.
Agencies such as police departments and fire departments distribute the drug to people who have overdosed. Naloxone can reverse or limit the effects of heroin or prescription opioids on the brain.
DeWine asked for the rebates after Amphastar agreed to refund the state of New York $6 per dose earlier this month.
"Given Ohio's use and promotion of naloxone, I would ask for the same consideration you gave the state of New York and seek an agreement similar to what you offered New York," DeWine said in a letter to Amphastar. "The $6 rebate per dose for police departments and other agencies who distribute naloxone would make a tremendous difference."
The drug was administered 74,000 times between 2003 and 2012 in Ohio, DeWine said. In 2012 alone, it was given more than 10,500 times.
Amphastar originally charged from $12.78 to $14 a vial for naloxone in 2013 and early 2014, according to Cuyahoga County Project DAWN. By October 2014, the company had raised the price to $28.50 a vial.
"Ohio has worked hard to get naloxone in the right hands," DeWine said "Without warning, Amphastar chose to dramatically increase its naloxone prices. This decision will make efforts to save lives much more difficult."