Two advisory committees voted today to recommend to the FDA that naloxone, the overdose-reversing drug, be available over the counter. Bobby Mukkamala, M.D., chair of the American Medical Association Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, testified at the hearing today.

The following statement is attributable to:

Bobby Mukkamala, M.D.

Immediate Past Chair, American Medical Association Board of Trustees;

Chair, AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force

“Making naloxone over the counter is a safe and vital step to ending the nation’s overdose epidemic. This will help community-based organizations purchase and distribute naloxone to those who need it most. Rather than sitting behind a pharmacy counter, naloxone needs to be readily available to save lives.

“Making it available over the counter also will help destigmatize obtaining and using naloxone. Individuals should be able to pick up a package of naloxone without having to face the potential stigma or shame of having to ask for this life-saving medication.

“The AMA believes greater access will occur when naloxone for overdose risk is just as easily accessible in a pharmacy, grocery store and other common locations as acetaminophen for a headache or a decongestant for a stuffy nose.

“We urge the FDA to make a speedy and final determination in favor of over-the-counter access.”

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