There’s been a decent amount of media coverage of the Pfizer generic injectable naloxone shortage in the last few weeks. Some pieces are getting it right, others not so much. It’s a complicated and nuanced issue and quick reporting often leads to some inaccuracies and poor framing of the issue, not to mention the photos of irrelevant naloxone products that are not affected by the shortage (i.e. nasal Narcan and the IMS/Amphastar product that hardly anyone even uses anymore).
We consider good coverage that which centers harm reduction programs distributing naloxone directly to PWUD, who are specifically affected by the shortage, and those stories that highlight the structural and systemic inequities and uneven distribution of resources that has lead to this situation. Articles that bash Pfizer are missing the point—they are actually the only company that has ever worked to offer free or discounted naloxone to harm reduction programs. The problem is truly that we have had to rely on the goodwill and generosity of a single pharmaceutical company for over 25 years, creating a precarious and unsustainable situation that is vulnerable to the slightest (and very common) disruption in manufacturing.
Here’s a roundup of some of the better coverage:
Morgan Godvin first picked up this story and wrote this great piece in Filter: https://filtermag.org/us-naloxone-shortage/
Meryl Kornfield did a nice job with this WaPo article, featuring some quotes with Buyers Club members Jack Martin from Southside in MN and Jen Plumb from Utah Naloxone: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/11/naloxone-demand/
Some local coverage focused on the impact on Buyers Club program PONI in Rhode Island: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/08/02/metro/opioid-epidemic-rages-an-overdose-antitode-is-short-supply-ri/
This story includes an interview with Teresa Springer from Buyers Club program Wellness Services in Flint, MI. https://youtu.be/7G4ZoY9Heww
This piece was later picked up by local stations in these cities: