CVS Pharmacy Looks To Curb Painkiller Addiction With Strict Supply Limits

CVS to follow federal guidelines for opioid prescriptions

That difference will include mandating that a single patient cannot be prescribed more than a seven-day supply of opioid medications at any one time, limiting the daily dosage a patient can be prescribed and requiring pharmacists to prioritize immediate-release formulas over extended-release counterparts.

"As America's front door to health care with a presence in almost 10,000 communities across the country, we see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse", said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health.

"CVS Health is announcing an enterprise wide campaign to combat the growing problem associated with opioids", said CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo.

Starting February 1, 2018, CVS Caremark will begin limiting the supply of opioids dispensed to opioid-naive patients to a 7-day supply for certain acute prescriptions.

CVS manages medications for almost 90M people, or ~28% of the US population, through its Caremark unit and runs 9,700 retail pharmacies nationwide.

CVS, based in Woonsocket, R.I., said the new rules will bring the company in line with prescribing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previous year.




CVS said this isn't a blame game.

In addition, pharmacists, while filling prescription for opioid pills, will be required to talk to patients about the risks of addiction, secure storage of medications in the home and proper disposal.

The drug store chain also says it will boost funding for addiction programs, counseling, and safe disposal of opioids. Together, the CVS Health Foundation and National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) convened a panel of experts to develop a protocol of best practices for community health centers on provider prescribing guidelines, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral health and collaboration with other community organizations to treat and prevent prescription drug abuse among at-risk patients.

CVS' Our Pharmacists Teach program has reached out to about 300,000 students to discuss the dangers of opioid abuse and is planning to offer more education on the subject.

"The opioid epidemic touches all of the communities we serve, and as a pharmacy innovation company, we are in a unique position to make a difference".

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