Indivior, the manufacturer of the overdose reversal medication Opvee, is shipping the drug to first responders and pharmacies, USA Today reports. Opvee works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain to quickly reverse the effects of an overdose. The rescue medication is approved for people 12 and older and requires a prescription. The drug arrives in a market that includes Narcan, which has been purchased and stocked by public institutions around the U.S. Indivior is aiming to convince public health agencies and consumers that Opvee is a better match to combat illicit fentanyl because its powerful formulation lasts longer than Narcan or other forms of naloxone.
Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams called Opvee a "fentanyl fighter" and another tool for public health officials to counter illicit fentanyl driving the nation's overdose deaths. Agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued grants of $10.8 million and $7.4 million on research that supported the development of Opvee. Indivior is attempting to generate interest among government purchasers by offering free doses to state and local agencies that employ emergency medical personnel. Opvee will cost $75 per kit for government or public interest purchasers, and $98 for others with no insurance coverage. Private health insurers don't yet cover the just-launched drug, but company officials expect many consumers will eventually pay little to nothing once insurers cover the antidote.