Overdose drug for sale on Maine Craigslist for $7,000
PORTLAND (WGME) - As Maine continues to fight a sharp rise in heroin use, the I-Team discovers some are trying to cash in on the deadly epidemic.
We found a life-saving drug for sale in southern Maine at a steep price.
Pharmacists and addiction specialists say they're shocked and disturbed by what we found.
"It's outrageous," said Dr. Mark Publicker who's worked in addiction medicine for more than three decades and is an advocate for addiction treatment.
We went to Dr. Publicker's office to show him an ad on Craigslist for prescription medication that's used to reverse an opioid overdose.
It appears someone in South Portland is trying to sell three doses of auto-injector naloxone for $7,000
"Obviously there's a need seen and exploitative efforts are made," Publicker said.
Ken McCall is the legislative chair of the Maine Pharmacy Association. He said not only is the ad surprising, it could be dangerous.
"I haven't seen this before online. My first concern was this could be counterfeit; this is the kind of product that the black market counterfeit industry likes to use. It's a very profitable product to them," McCall said.
McCall said even if it's real, selling the drug like this is illegal.
"Federal law prohibits the sale of any prescription medicine in this manner and that is a pretty steep fine; felony and jail time," McCall said.
We called the number on the ad but got no answer.
Craigslist didn't respond to our questions about the post or its policy, but Dr. Publicker said it's important to know there are other options.
The list price from a pharmacy would be about $300 dollars less than as advertised on the Craigslist post.
There's also the much less expensive Narcan nasal spray, which is about $50 a dose.
While Dr. Publicker said he supports making it easier to get naloxone products, he said buying and selling online isn't the answer.
"My wish and my hope would be the more people that carry this the better. The more widely available this is, the more lives would be saved," he said.
Dr. Publicker said many insurance companies will pay for Narcan and other naloxone drugs; you can also get it for free at the Portland Needle Exchange.