CVS to limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days

CVS to limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days

CVS to limit opioid prescriptions to 7 days

Pharmacies will start limiting prescriptions for opioids to a seven day limit, CVS Pharmacy announced Thursday, making the company the first national pharmacy chain to govern how many prescriptions a doctor can write for a patient.

CVS, which manages medications for almost 90 million customers at 9,700 retail locations, plans to roll out the initiatives to control opioid abuse as of February 1, 2018. "With this expansion of our industry-leading initiatives, we are further strengthening our commitment to help providers and patients balance the need for these powerful medications with the risk of abuse and misuse".

"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.

This new policy is an effort to curb the growing opioid epidemic and will begin on February 1, 2018.

The new guidelines would also limit the daily dosage of opioids depending on their strength, and would require immediate release opioids to be used before extended-release drugs, according to a CVS press release.

In 2015, 52,000 people died from drug overdose-33,000 of those were from opioids alone.

Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS, said the initiatives respond to a uniquely American problem.

The pharmacy giant is also mandating pharmacists discuss addiction risks, storage security and disposal processes with patients receiving opioids.

Doctors can ask for exemptions for certain patients, CVS said, and employers and insurers can opt out of the program. To date, the program has focused on teens and has educated more than 295,000 students about prescription drug abuse.

"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", CVS Health representatives said in a statement.

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