Opioids: CVS Imposes Prescription Limits to Combat Epidemic

CVS to follow federal guidelines for opioid prescriptions

CVS to follow federal guidelines for opioid prescriptions

CVS is now the first national pharmacy retailer to limit opioid prescriptions, announcing that it will cap the number of pain pills doctors can give patients to the amount they need for seven days only.

The move by CVS to limit prescription opioids like OxyContin or Vicodin to a seven-day supply is a significant restriction for patients - the average pill supply given by doctors in the USA increased from 13 days in 2006 to 18 days 2015, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This new plan follows the CDC's recommendation that pharmacists contact doctors when they receive prescriptions that are asking for more medication than what's needed for the typical recovery time.

The pharmacy will also expand a drug disposal collection program and increase funding by $2 million to medication-assisted addiction treatment programs.

The largest pharmacy chain in the U.S.is enacting strict restrictions on patient supplies for opioid painkillers in an effort to curb addiction rates amid record drug deaths. It plans to roll out the initiatives to control opioid abuse as of February 1, 2018.

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CVS and other health care companies have been accused of helping fuel the addiction crisis through their handling of opioid painkillers; CVS a year ago paid $3.5M to settle federal allegations that 50 of its pharmacies in New England filled forged prescriptions for painkillers.

Placing stricter limits on prescription won't be a silver bullet solution to the epidemic, but stemming the tide of opioids entering American homes can help prevent misuse and new addictions.

To date, through this program, created with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, CVS Health has previously donated more than 800 medication disposal units to local police departments in 43 states.

Ford says KDMC has been working on similar ways to fight the epidemic and says this announcement by CVS could definitely help with their mission. The new guideline does not limit patients being treated for chronic pain.

"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 almost 90 million plan members".

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