CVS to limit opioid drug prescriptions for certain conditions

SAUL LOEB  AFP  Getty Images

SAUL LOEB AFP Getty Images

CVS Pharmacy on Thursday became the first national retailer to limit opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply.

CVS's new policy will drastically cut down on the number of painkillers a doctor prescribes for patients, who received an average of an 18-day supply from their doctors in 2015.

In addition, pharmacists filling the prescriptions will likewise be required to talk to patients about the responsible use of opioids, precautions in storing them at home, proper disposal and addiction risks, CVS stated.

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.

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 Caremark plans to roll out opioid utilization control initiatives for all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients as of February 1, 2018 unless the client chooses to opt out. US opioid prescribing rates have increased from 76 million in 1991, to 207 million by 2013, the company said in a statement. CVS current follows the CDC Guideline for opioid prescriptions. 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. Following the recommendation, Trump told the press that the opioid epidemic "is a national emergency", but to date there has been no official announcement.

CVS will also be expanding its medication disposal units, adding 750 "drug take-back" kiosks in its pharmacies.

Drugstore giant, CVS Pharmacies is stepping in to help, changing procedure, to curb addiction. CVS has nearly 90 million customers at its pharmacies each year at 9,600 CVS locations and 1,100 walk-in medical clinics in almost 10,000 communities in the United States.

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