U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) isn’t pleased with the response from the Food and Drug Administration on approving a tool to prevent drug overdose deaths. Kirk had asked the FDA to fast track approval for the nasal spray version of a drug called Narcan, which has been shown to be effective in reviving people who have overdosed on narcotics. The FDA’s only reply to a letter written by Kirk earlier this year was to say it’s looking into the issue, and Kirk is concerned approval could be delayed by years of FDA testing.
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“(I) want to make sure that this is not considered a new use,” Kirk said, “that for humanitarian reasons, we approve nasal Narcan, so as many jurisdictions as possible feel no impediment to use it.” The nasal Narcan is made by an Illinois company, Lake Forest-based Hospira.
The injectable form of the drug has been approved, but DuPage County Coroner Dr. Richard Jorgenson says first responders in his area have had more success with the nasal spray version. “We’ve had 32 uses of this. We’ve had no times that it’s been used where the person went on to die,” Jorgenson said.
Police officers in Lake County are now equipped with the nasal Narcan, and Kirk hopes it can be made available to more counties in Illinois next year.