CVS, Walgreens Ramp Up Opioid Efforts

HealthLeaders Media Staff, September 21, 2017

CVS Caremark program will include limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to therapy.

CVS Health says it’s enhancing its enterprise-wide initiatives supporting safe drug disposal, utilization management of pain medications, and funding for treatment and recovery programs.

CVS Caremark will roll out an enhanced opioid utilization management approach for all commercial, health plan, employer, and Medicaid clients as of February 1, 2018 unless the client chooses to opt out.

This program will include limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to therapy; limiting the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid; and requiring the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed.

CVS Pharmacy locations will also strengthen counseling for patients filling an opioid prescription with a safe opioid use education program highlighting opioid safety and the dangers of addiction. This clinical program will educate patients about the guideline for opioid prescribing published by the CDC.

Pharmacists will counsel patients about the risk of dependence and addiction tied to duration of opioid use, the importance of keeping medications secure in the home and methods of proper disposal of unused medication.

It’s also expanding its kiosk disposal locations.

In related news, Walgreens has launched the “#ItEndsWithUs” campaign to educate teens nationwide on the opioid epidemic. The campaign is helmed by actor Brandon Larracuente, who lost a close friend to the opioid epidemic.

The #ItEndsWithUs campaign aims to provide teens with resources and positive steps they can take in their community, which are all available at the #ItEndsWithUs hub at walgreens.com/itendswithus. The campaign also promotes the drugstores’ safe medication disposal kiosks. 

 

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