Drugstore Chain Limits Opioid Prescriptions

CVS Caremark, the prescription drug management division of CVS Health drugstores, will limit opioid prescriptions for new patients to supplies for just seven days. It provides medications for some 90 million people and has considerable influence.

CVS will also instruct its pharmacists to contact doctors concerning prescriptions that seem too large for a patient’s needs during recovery, and ask them to revise the prescriptions. Plus, CVS may cap daily dosages and require patients to use drugs that are formulated to give the required pain relief over the short term.

These steps are part of the company’s larger effort to help fight the opioid crisis in the USA. Other measures CVS says it will employ are boosting funding for treatment programs for opioid addiction, counseling and safe means for disposal of the drugs.

All this was reported in an article in USA Today. Reporter Nathan Bomey also wrote that the CEO of CVS, Larry Merlo, said that the company has often been asked to supply patients with more pills than they actually require. He said, “We believe it’s appropriate to limit those prescriptions to a much more moderate and appropriate supply.”

However, Merlo did not want to discuss who, if anyone, bears the blame for the opioid crisis, whether physicians, pharmacists, drug companies or patients. He stated that he believed it was more important for stakeholders to be part of the solution going forward.

Other large drugstore chains are joining the fight. Walgreens has said it will begin a campaign to communicate with teenagers about opioid addiction.

To read the full article in USA Today and to view one video on the crisis and another on the hunt for opioids coming into the US illegally, go to: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/21/cvs-health-opioid-prescriptions/685201001/