Pilot testing a tool to determine the costs and time associated with community pharmacy-based administration of injectable naltrexone

July 15, 2022



Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), including injectable naltrexone (IN), are part of evidence-based OUD treatments. MOUD access often is limited, especially in rural communities. When authorized to administer non-vaccination injections, pharmacists can increase IN accessibility. However, inadequate reimbursement for pharmacist-administered IN can hinder widespread adoption.


To pilot test a process to obtain a preliminary estimate of the total costs and time associated with community-pharmacist administered IN.


A purposively-selected sample of key informants at community pharmacies administering IN were surveyed about time and cost for best practice IN activities. Respondents estimated the time to perform activities and average pharmacist/pharmacy technician hourly salary, which were used to calculate administration costs.


The approach to estimate time and costs was feasible. Administrative costs (mean = $93, range: $48-$164) and time (mean = 123 min., range: 63–220 min.) to administer IN varied widely. Pharmacists’/pharmacy technicians’ roles varied by pharmacy.


Pharmacists allocate significant time and resources to administer IN. Insufficient reimbursement may disincentivize pharmacy-involved OUD treatment and ultimately slow needed expansion of MOUD services. Increasing IN services requires engaging pharmacies to expand their practice through educational campaigns, along with a commitment to reimburse the cost of medications and related administration activities.