CVS Health continues instituting programs addressing the opioid crisis

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CVS Health continues instituting programs addressing the opioid crisis

By Sandra Levy - 09/10/2018
In its continuing effort to eliminate the abuse and misuse of prescription opioids, CVS Health has launched such programs and initiatives as
increasing access to safe medication disposal sites by installing 750 safe medication disposal units within CVS Pharmacy locations.

Combined with the more than 900 units donated to local law enforcement, the company has facilitated placement of more than 1,650 units nationwide. In total, these units have collected more than 436,000 pounds, or 198 metric tons, of unwanted medication.

CVS Caremark has implemented criteria to help adopting clients manage opioid utilization in a manner consistent with the Centers for Disease Control Guideline. For clients adopting this utilization management criterion the number of prescriptions covered for more than a seven-day supply decreased by 71.9%. Among those clients, the number of prescriptions covered for a seven-day supply or less is now 94.3%, according to CVS.

CVS Pharmacy also has implemented an industry-leading program to increase access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone in 48 states where patients do not require an individual prescription.

Following the Surgeon General's Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose in April 2018, the company further expanded efforts to educate patients about naloxone. Today, all CVS Pharmacy locations have in-store signage and in-store radio messages to educate patients about the availability and accessibility of the life-saving drug.

“Providing guidance to retail pharmacy patients new to an opioid prescription, our pharmacist-led patient counseling has educated nearly three million patients on safe opioid use and the dangers of addiction over the past five months. In communities nationwide, our pharmacists educate on use, risks, storage and disposal in line with the CDC Guideline,” the retailer said.

Since 2015, CVS has had its own pharmacist-led prevention education program, Pharmacists Teach, which has educated more than 400,000 teens and parents on the dangers of teens misusing prescription drugs.

CVS Health said it is also providing grants to 21 community health centers across the U.S. that deliver medication-assisted treatment and other addiction recovery services. The program will reach nearly 350,000 patients and support 115 physicians working to increase access to medication-assisted treatment.