CVS to Limit Opioid Prescriptions to 7-Day Supply

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On Thursday, CVS announced it's limiting opioid prescriptions, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, to a seven-day supply for certain conditions.

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.

"CVS Health is announcing an enterprise wide campaign to combat the growing problem associated with opioids", said CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo. 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.

The company also plans to strengthen its disposal collection program with the addition of kiosks at pharmacies.

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CVS said this isn't a blame game. The new guideline does not limit patients being treated for chronic pain. More than 100 metric tons of unwanted medication was disposed through the program in the past two years.

CVS said it provides medications to almost 90 million people, so the company is hoping to take the lead and influence other providers to follow suit. Together, the CVS Health Foundation and National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) convened a panel of experts to develop a protocol of best practices for community health centers on provider prescribing guidelines, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral health and collaboration with other community organizations to treat and prevent prescription drug abuse among at-risk patients. 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.

A large approach will be limiting opioid prescriptions.

"Today we are announcing an expansion of our enterprise initiatives to fight the opioid abuse epidemic that leverages CVS Pharmacy's national presence with the capabilities of CVS Caremark, which manages medications for almost 90 million plan members".