BUFFALO, N.Y. — There are currently five different federally approved brands of naloxone nasal sprays used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.

"One of the things that's really upsetting is there's many tools that are available, but yet the state is only locked into one company, which is the most expensive," Save The Michaels President Avi Israel said.

New York purchases only naloxone under a $21 million single source, no-bid contract with pharmaceutical subsidiary Emergent Devices.

Israel is one of a group of addiction services leaders urging the state not to automatically renew the deal when it expires at the end of the month. 

"Why are you paying that much money when there are the same things that's available for less money," he said.

Former state Office of Addiction Services and Supports General Counsel Rob Kent also signed on to letters the group sent late last week to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Comptroller Tom Dinapoli calling for an open bid process.

"My recommendation would be you do a procurement where you basically say, all companies that manufacture naloxone, whatever dosage level, you offer us your best price per milligram," Kent said.

He said things have changed dramatically since 2016, the last time the state had a competitive bid for naloxone. 

"How in the world does it make sense to be spending the money on one product, knowing you need a ton of this product on the street given how dangerous the drugs are," Kent said.

Israel is also perplexed by the Hochul administration's seeming unwillingness to explore new options and says in general it has shown a lack of urgency about the opioid crisis.

"First of all, you don't get a reply from the governor at all and I stopped writing to her after four or five letters. I've just given up because I don't think she really cares about what's going on," he said.

Hochul's office argued the Department of Health is ensuring it receives naloxone at the "lowest possible cost." It said Emergent's brand ultimately saves the state money because it does not have to be replaced as often as others.

"Based on state health officials’ review of all relevant evidence and data, Narcan is currently the most effective and affordable form of naloxone that comes in FDA-preferred dosage levels – and it has a longer shelf life than comparable brands," a spokesperson for the governor said in a statement.

The comptroller attached the letter it received in a Tuesday correspondence with the state health commissioner. In it, he said there no new contract or renewal has been submitted to his office so to this point authority remains with DOH, however he did ask the commissioner address the concerns in any future submission.

Save The Michaels receives naloxone directly from the state Department of Health and Israel said the supply is sufficient. However, he believes naloxone should be everywhere, there is no such thing as too much and if the state can get lower prices, it can buy more.