CVS to Limit Opioid Prescriptions to 7-Day Supply

CVS to Limit Opioid Prescriptions to 7-Day Supply

CVS says it will limit initial opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply for new patients.

CVS manages medications for almost 90M people, or ~28% of the USA population, through its Caremark unit and runs 9,700 retail pharmacies nationwide.

The company will also cap daily dosages and only fill versions of the drugs that work for shorter time frames.

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With the move, the retail pharmacy chain becomes the first national retail chain to restrict how many pain pills doctors can give patients.

The new limits are part of a wider initiative meant to protect patients against a fast-growing opioid abuse epidemic that has led to a sharp increase in overdose deaths attributed to opioids, CNN reported.

CVS also announced a donation of $2 million for federally-backed community health centers providing medication-assisted addiction treatment and is expanding their "Pharmacists Teach Program" to educate parents and their children about the dangers of opioid addiction. CVS current follows the CDC Guideline for opioid prescriptions. In some cases, people will start taking leftover medicine originally prescribed to someone else.

"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", Merlo said.

The roots of the opioid epidemic are multifaceted, but pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers have been accused of allowing painkillers to flow into communities with few limitations.

An interim report released in August by the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recommended President Trump declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, which would free up funds to tackle the issue.

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