Ground Zero — We Are Here With A Life-Saving Medication.
On August 1, Naloxone Will Be Available for Online Purchase in PA and WV.
Last December our startup, Script Health (formerly Fiduscript) was invited to present our first service Naloxone Exchange to the Food and Drug Administration. Naloxone Exchange is a secure online platform that allows anyone to purchase the life-saving opioid antidote Naloxone, receive effective training on how to use it, and have it shipped straight to their door. As a pharmacist, I know a lot about NARCAN® Nasal Spray (also known as Naloxone) and the opioid crisis — I’ve spent the last three years of my life learning and working on the front lines to provide scaleable solutions.
The day prior to our presentation, I went to my local pharmacy to purchase Narcan. I approached the counter and asked the pharmacy technician if I could purchase Narcan. She asked “What is that?” “It’s the opioid antidote that saves lives.” I said to her. She turned to her computer, researched a bit, and replied “You need a prescription for that.”
In my state of Illinois, and at this particular pharmacy, you shouldn’t need a prescription. Illinois (and many other states) has amended their laws to expand access to Narcan and other brands of Naloxone for circumstances when a patient or their loved one request it at the pharmacy counter.
I explained to the technician, “I did research before I came in and it mentioned that I should be able to purchase it.” She replied, “Well sir, it says here you need a prescription, so unless you have one, we can’t sell it to you.”
My first thought was, “Wow! This is problematic.” If I hadn’t been an expert on this issue, I’d probably just walk out of the pharmacy and have to scramble around to find this life-saving medication elsewhere. What if this was the only pharmacy in town? What if I had 3 jobs, and this was the only time I had between work? What if I had a brother, sister, son, or daughter that recently overdosed? What would I do? I think it’s reasonable to say that many people don’t feel comfortable expressing their disagreements, so it could be easier, but also potentially deadly to simply walk away.
Respectfully, I asked to speak to the pharmacist and explained the new policy which they confirmed. An hour later I was able to get the medication. I had my own personal experience, but the New York Times, Washington Post, and Reuters have all reported similarly, a consistent theme to folks experiencing the barriers in accessing the critical medication. A combination of my personal experience and also hearing thousands of stories from substance users and their loved ones throughout my entrepreneurial journey changed my perspective about what it truly means to have access to essential and life-saving medications. I was empowered to fight to get Naloxone Exchange in every state, no matter how difficult it might become. This became my why.
In May 2019 we officially hit our first milestone by launching a pilot program in Texas. I knew that the combination of leveraging our easy to use platform to scale and expert pharmacist whom are more than happy to answer questions, that we could expand access of Naloxone to anyone, anywhere in the country.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Naloxone Exchange will be expanding its pilot to two states hit hardest by the opioid crisis; Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Beginning August 1, anyone in these states can easily purchase Naloxone online and get it shipped to their door.
Over the past two years, there’s been over 100,000 deaths in the United States from the opioid crisis. Narcan won’t solve the deep rooted and more complex matters of the opioid crisis, but it will save lives and potentially be a culprit for folks to seek treatment that they may need and deserve.
The Script Health team will continue to achieve our mission. We aim to expand access to Naloxone throughout the country by the end of 2019. We still face challenges such as policy challenges, funding, and affordability — whereas we can’t launch in the state of Ohio, a state that would benefit substantially from our service. We also believe the barrier of affordability to accessing Narcan should be eliminated — the medication should be subsidized to anyone who wants it, but especially those who need it. Through all of our challenges, and our progress we ask for government and private sector folks to join us in achieving our mission to provide easy access to essential and life-saving medications to improve health.
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