Will converting naloxone to over-the-counter status increase pharmacy sales?

TitleWill converting naloxone to over-the-counter status increase pharmacy sales?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMurphy SM, Morgan JR, Jeng PJ, Schackman BR
JournalHealth Serv Res
Date Published2019 Aug

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the own-price elasticity of demand for naloxone, a prescription medication that can counter the effects of an opioid overdose, and predict the change in pharmacy sales following a conversion to over-the-counter status.

DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: The primary data source was a nationwide prescription claims dataset for 2010-2017. The data cover 80 percent of US retail pharmacies and account for roughly 90 percent of prescriptions filled. Additional covariates were obtained from various secondary data sources.

STUDY DESIGN: We estimated a longitudinal, simultaneous equation model of naloxone supply and demand. Our primary variables of interest were the quantity of naloxone sold, measured as total milligrams sold at pharmacies, and the out-of-pocket price paid per milligram, both measured per ZIP Code and quarter-year.

DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: Primary data came directly from payers and processors of prescription drug claims.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that, on average, a 1 percent increase in the out-of-pocket price paid for naloxone would result in a 0.27 percent decrease in pharmacy sales. We predict that the total quantity of naloxone sold in pharmacies would increase 15 percent to 179 percent following conversion to over-the-counter status.

CONCLUSIONS: Naloxone is own-price inelastic, and conversion to over-the-counter status is likely to lead to a substantial increase in total pharmacy sales.

Alternate JournalHealth Serv Res
PubMed ID30790269
PubMed Central IDPMC6606536
Grant ListP30DA040500 / / National Institute on Drug Abuse /
P30 DA040500 / DA / NIDA NIH HHS / United States
Comparative Effectiveness & Outcomes Research
Faculty Publication