Hy-Vee Pharmacies Sell Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Over the Counter

May 10, 2017

Hy-Vee announced Wednesday it is now offering over-the-counter naloxone—a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose—in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

Naloxone can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. A state order allows Iowa pharmacies to go through training to be able to sell the drug to a customer without a prescription.

Erin Foster is director of prevention services at the Area Substance Abuse Council in Cedar Rapids. She says it’s encouraging to see a major pharmacy like Hy-Vee offer naloxone. 

"Our agency actually did a quick survey not too long ago to see who was actually utilizing the state standing order, and sadly, not too many pharmacies had jumped on board with that yet," Foster says. 

A Hy-Vee news release states pharmacists will ensure patients and their family members know how to administer the drug.

Foster adds Hy-Vee’s decision is a good start to making sure naloxone is available to those who need it. 

"If someone wanted to obtain naloxone before the standing order, they actually would need to go to a medical provider and get a prescription for it," Foster says. "It kind of takes that barrier out of going and talking to a medical provider, which we know there’s a stigma against substance use."

Foster says two doses of naloxone in the Cedar Rapids area can cost between $140 and $280. She says people still need to seek immediate medical treatment after using the drug.