Adapt hires McCann Health Canada for naloxone nasal spray launch

Adapt Pharma hires ad agency in Canada for campaign for Narcan, an inhaled treatment for opioid overdoses.

Adapt Pharma, maker of a nasal-spray naloxone product to treat opioid overdose, has hired McCann Health Canada to create its first ad campaign for the new med, Narcan. The planned bilingual Canadian launch will target healthcare professionals and first responders such as police, fire and paramedic personnel, and eventually consumers.

Narcan was approved in Canada for non-prescription purchase in October, following an interim emergency order in July that allowed the nasal-spray treatment to be imported from the U.S. With the Canadian federal market authorization, Adapt is now able to take the necessary steps to bring a Canadian naloxone nasal spray to market, the government announced via press release. The U.S.-approved version of Narcan will continue to be sold until that approval is granted.

Narcan, which is Ireland-based Adapt’s only product, was approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. last fall and hit the market in February. Adapt launched a marketing program in the U.S. in July to donate 25,000 double-pack doses of the drug to community first responder partner programs as well as city law enforcement teams in areas that have been hardest hit by opioid-related drug overdoses.

However, naloxone makers have been under fire from U.S. legislators for price hikes that lawmakers allege take advantage of the skyrocketing opioid crisis. The Senate Special Committee on Aging last year reached out to Pfizer, Mylan, Amphastar, Kaleo, and Adapt requesting they explain the price increases on their medicines that have risen along with abuse and overdose rates. The price for injectable versions of the drug has risen from less than a dollar per dose to as high as $41 per dose over the last decade, according to analysis by Truven Health Analytics provided to Business Insider. Kaleo’s Evzio auto-injector version has gone even higher, now costing $2,250 for a single dose, after being introduced at $287.50 per dose in July 2014.

Yet Adapt is bucking the pricing trend. The company reported to the Senate committee that it has held its price for Narcan at the same amount since launch. That’s about $63 for each single dose, Adapt's chief commercial officer told Business Insider, adding that it offers discounts of half that price for government and community organizations, and patients without insurance.

At launch in 2015, Adapt CEO Seamus Mulligan said, "We want to have broad access across the U.S. That's the approach we're taking in terms of pricing and transparency."

Meanwhile, Adapt may soon get some competition in the nasal-spray department, with Amphastar developing its own version.