CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) asked the Biden Administration today to take additional steps to remove the prescription status of naloxone—the overdose-reversing drug—to make it more available over the counter. 

“As the overdose epidemic has worsened, given the FDA’s clear guidance there is no moral, medical, or safety-related reason for these life-saving overdose reversal agents to remain locked under prescription regulations,” the AMA wrote (PDF) the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

If not for naloxone, tens of thousands of additional Americans likely would have died from overdoses. The AMA greatly appreciates ONDCP has made increasing access to naloxone a high priority and recommended steps that would make it more widely available to harm-reduction organizations and individuals regardless of their insurance status. The letter notes that naloxone manufacturers are dragging their feet on making it more available over the counter.

“The AMA urges removing the prescription status of naloxone as an essential step to save lives from opioid-related overdose because it will help make naloxone more readily available to patients everywhere."

Download a copy of the AMA’s letter here (PDF).

Editor’s note: The AMA convened more than 25 national, state, specialty and other health care associations in 2014 to form the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force to coordinate efforts within organized medicine to help end the nation’s opioid epidemic. Additional information on the AMA task force is available here. Real-time updates on the AMA’s work on opioids is accessible here.


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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.