CVS becomes first national chain to limit opioid prescriptions

CVS becomes first national chain to limit opioid prescriptions

Another large pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, previously announced it was planning to limit the supply and dosage of opioids for first-time patients, a move the American Medical Association warned was a "blunt, one-size-fits-all approach" that took treatment decisions away from the doctor and patient.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the average pill supply prescribed by doctors in the USA increased from 13 days in 2006 to 18 days in 2015.

Pharmacists will be asked to contact doctors when prescriptions appear to offer more medication than needed.

CVS, - which was the first large retail pharmacy chain to stop selling cigarettes in 2014 - manages medications for almost 90 million customers at 9,700 retail locations.

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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.

According to a release on the CVS Health website, opioid overdose deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2015. This clinical program will educate patients about the Guideline for opioid prescribing published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advises using the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible. They must determine if the prescribed opioid is appropriate, compare how the opioid may interact with other medications the patient is now taking, and occasionally advise the patient on taking a different medication.

President Donald Trump also recently announced plans to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

CVS said this isn't a blame game. More than 100 metric tons of unwanted medication, that could otherwise have been diverted, misused or abused, have been collected and safely disposed of through this program in the past two years. The new guideline does not limit patients being treated for chronic pain.

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