Medicare-Paid Naloxone: Trends in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas


Multiple federal agencies have made expanding access to naloxone a national priority. Approximately 28% of Medicare Part D beneficiaries with new opioid use were prescribed high doses of prescription opioids. Previous research has found that Medicare paid for an increasing share of naloxone prescriptions from 2016 to 2018 and pays for 1/3 of all naloxone dispensed from retail pharmacies as of 2018.

This brief examines trends in Medicare-paid naloxone dispensing rates in nonmetropolitan versus metropolitan areas from 2014 to 2018. This brief uses IQVIA National Prescription Audit data including three-digit ZIP codes of pharmacies, dispensing counts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and payer type information.

Rural and Underserved Health Research Center
Chris Delcher, Yue Cheng, Minji Sohn, Jeffery Talbert, Patricia Freeman