CVS Health the nation’s largest drug store chain is planning to announce today that it will be limiting opioid prescriptions in its effort to fight the epidemic accounting for over 64,000 deaths from overdose in just the last year.
The increase in the overall opioid crisis is quite complicated, but hospitals and doctors trying to keep their patients happy were a large factor.
CVS Caremark the prescription drug management sector of the company which provides medications for close to 90 million people, announced that it would use its influence to limit the initial prescription for opioids to only a supply of seven days for new patients that have acute ailments.
It is going to instruct pharmacists to contact the medical care provider when prescriptions are found that appear to be offering more medication than is deemed necessary for the recovery of a patient.
The doctor would then be asked to make a revision to the prescription. Already, pharmacists reach out to medical care providers for other answers, such as when they have prescribed medication not covered by the insurance plan of a patient.
The new plan also will cap daily dosages and will initially require patients to receive versions of the meds that will dispense the medicine for a short period rather than for a longer period.
The CEO at CVS Larry Merlo said that the company often has been asked to fill prescriptions of between 40 and 60 powerful pills at the same time for conditions requiring far fewer.
He added that CVS sees that too often and believes the time is right to limit the prescriptions to a more moderate supply and believe that will help make a big impact.
Separately, Walgreens a rival of CVS, announced its plans for a new campaign of marketing that is aimed at educating teens about opioids’ dangers.
Taken together, these initiatives reflect the growing active role of two of the country’s largest retailers in fighting this deadly epidemic.
This week the White House declared it Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.
Recently President Donald Trump announced his plans to declare the current opioid crisis one that is a national emergency, although the declaration ended up being under legal review last week.
This move could help to free up significant federal dollars to help tackle the ongoing epidemic.
With over 9,600 stores, CVS says it will empower its pharmacists to educate patients about opioid dangers.