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Cummings, Sanders ask mayors to take action on naloxone prices

Washington, D.C., MD-4/22/14-Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is pictured in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. He has emerged as one of his party's top defense players after more than two years opposite Darrell Issa on the House Oversight Committee. Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun--#877.
Washington, D.C., MD-4/22/14-Baltimore Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is pictured in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. He has emerged as one of his party's top defense players after more than two years opposite Darrell Issa on the House Oversight Committee. Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun--#877. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

WASHINGTON -- In an effort to expand the number of local agreements to lower the price of a heroin overdose drug, a pair of Democrats are urging other communities to reach out to a leading manufacturing and request a reduction.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat who has been pressing on the issue for weeks, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, wrote the U.S Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties on Wednesday on the issue.

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Officials in New York and Ohio have both come to agreements with California-based Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to allow public agencies to purchase naloxone at a lower price. The drug, which is used to save the lives of people who have overdosed on heroin, has seen a major increase in price this year.

"The opioid abuse epidemic in our country is a public health emergency that must be addressed, and no company should jeopardize the progress being made in tackling this emergency by overcharging for a critically important drug like naloxone," Cummings and Sanders wrote.

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Maryland state officials have already made a similar request of the company.

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