CVS Announces New Policy to Combat Opioid Crisis

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Sep 22, 2017 5:45 PM
CVS Announces New Policy to Combat Opioid Crisis

CVS will limit certain opioid painkiller prescriptions to a seven-day supply, the pharmacy chain announced on Friday. This new policy is an effort to curb the growing opioid epidemic and will begin on February 1, 2018. CVS is the first nationwide pharmacy to enact this policy. 

A statement from CVS President Larry J. Merlo said that the chain has seen firsthand the impact of the "rapidly growing epidemic" of opiate addiction, and that CVS is aiming to combat this in any way possible. 

“As America’s front door to health care with a presence in nearly 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. “Today we are announcing an expansion of our enterprise initiatives to fight the opioid abuse epidemic that leverages CVS Pharmacy’s national presence with the capabilities of CVS Caremark, which manages medications for nearly 90 million plan members.”

To support this goal, CVS Caremark will roll out an enhanced opioid utilization management approach for all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients as of February 1, 2018 unless the client chooses to opt out. This program will include limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to therapy; limiting the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid; and requiring the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed.

About time. The statistics on opioid addiction are disturbing, and something has to be done. This is probably a good first step.