Indiana mom calls on state’s help to keep heroin antidote prices down

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An Indiana mother is calling on state leaders to step up and help keep the cost of heroin antidotes down.

Justin Phillips lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2013. In light of that tragedy, she created a non-profit called Overdose Lifeline to help police agencies across the state obtain Naloxone (Narcan).

The Hancock County Sheriff's Department is one of those agencies benefiting from Phillip's help.

Several years ago, a dose of Narcan for a hospital cost about a dollar. Today, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department pays $30 a dose and that's a cheap price.

"If we had to buy it outright, it'd be $100 a dose," said Deputy Mike Cushing.

Overdose Lifeline works to get law enforcement agencies bulk rates through local hospitals and grant money which brings the cost down to $30 a dose. But Phillips is worried pharmaceutical companies will keep raising prices making her mission harder to accomplish.

“Shame on the pharmaceutical companies for making a profit over the difference between life and death,” she told us.

She thinks it's time for the state to stand up and fight.

“It would be wonderful if somehow the state was able to negotiate with the pharmaceutical company a set price that the state could purchase the drug and then allow for the distribution.”

If prices keep going up, Cushing said the department will have to take a closer look at their budget. He said Narcan is too precious a tool to cut, but other projects may have to go.

“It’s just like gasoline," he said. "We have to have gasoline for cars so we just have to figure out a way to pay for it.”

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