3 health care organizations join forces to tackle opioid epidemic in New Jersey

Kloxxado 8mg nasal spray

HIKMA Pharmaceuticals, Hackensack Meridian Health and the nonprofit Dispensary of Hope recently announced they are teaming up to pilot a Take-Home Naloxone Program to stem the tide of opioid overdose fatalities by delivering Kloxxado (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray 8 mg free of charge to patients at high risk of an opioid overdose.

Kloxxado contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist that can save the lives of patients who have overdosed with an opioid. All three organizations share a vision of providing affordable medication access, with a particular focus on communities and individuals who are most vulnerable.

According to a report published in the Lancet, more than 1.2 million Americans will die in this decade from opioid overdose. The current wave of overdose deaths is being driven by illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which are 50 times more potent than heroin and may require more naloxone to reverse. In fact, 78% of all overdose reversals involve at least 8 mg of naloxone, according to a study published in 2022.

With a drug overdose mortality rate of 32.4 per hundred thousand people, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year, New Jersey continues to battle the opioid epidemic, as does the rest of the country.

“As a leading New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company with a mission of improving health and saving lives, we were compelled to act,” Christopher Bonny, vice president of marketing and brand Rx operations at Hikma Pharmaceuticals, said. “Since launching Kloxxado less than two years ago, we’ve seen numerous instances of lives saved at schools, concerts, hotels, parks and many other locations and situations. We are pleased to support the life-saving work of Hackensack Meridian Health and Dispensary of Hope by donating this important medication to help reverse opioid overdoses and serve the urgent needs of those at risk.”

“Even though naloxone medications like Kloxxado can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, not enough patients at risk have access to naloxone,” said Hillary Blackburn, chief pharmacy officer at Dispensary of Hope, said. “With 40% of overdoses happening in front of another person, we know we can save lives by engaging in creative strategies to deliver pragmatic results.”

The pilot project began in May 2023 with the aim of dispensing 2,500 doses of Kloxxado. During the pilot program, HIKMA Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Kloxxado, will deliver it to Dispensary of Hope. Dispensary of Hope — a nonprofit medication distributor — will then distribute the medications to preapproved sites of need at HMH. HMH will then dispense the medication to patients, as well as friends and family members of the patients who are at risk.

According to Dr. Aakash Shah, chief of addiction medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center: “With deadly substances like fentanyl in the drug supply, it has never been more important to ensure that patients have access to life-saving medications like Kloxxado. This partnership is a quintessential example of how organizations can and should come together to do exactly that.”