Health Care

CVS to implement changes to how opioids are dispensed

CVS to implement changes to how opioids are dispensed”

Pharmacy retailer CVS announced Thursday that it would limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for certain conditions and for newly prescribed patients.

Beginning Feb. 1, CVS will roll out new controls to reduce opioid abuse, including counseling at the pick-up counter.

"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.

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The CVS limit aims to stop a growing opioid epidemic across the country, including in Pennsylvania. CVS operates 9,700 retail stores across the USA handling prescriptions for roughly 90 million Americans.

Another component of the new program announced by CVS is an expansion of safe disposal sites at its stores.

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 a year ago. This remarkable volume of opioid prescribing is unique to the United States, where prescribing in 2015 was almost four times what it was in Europe.

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Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS, said the initiatives respond to a uniquely American problem. It means that customers experiencing acute, short-term pain will only be allowed to purchase one week's worth of opioids with a single prescription, Today reports.

Pharmacists will also contact doctors when they encounter prescriptions that appear to offer more medication than would be necessary for a patient's recovery.

CVS Health is also expanding its commitment to opioid abuse prevention education by bringing its Pharmacists Teach program to a parent audience.

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"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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