(RTTNews.com) – CVS Pharmacy will limit opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply for certain conditions, as part of its efforts to fight the national opioid abuse epidemic.
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.
With the move, the retail pharmacy chain becomes the first national retail chain to restrict how many pain pills doctors can give patients.
Limiting prescription opioids to a seven-day supply is said to be a significant restriction for patients. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average pill supply given by doctors in the U.S. increased to 18 days 2015 from 13 days in 2006.
In addition, pharmacists, while filling prescription for opioid pills, will be required to talk to patients about the risks of addiction, secure storage of medications in the home and proper disposal.
Larry Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health said, “We are further strengthening our commitment to help providers and patients balance the need for these powerful medications with the risk of abuse and misuse.”
According to a recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in three Americans, or 91.8 million Americans used opioid pills in 2015. CDC noted that more than 15,000 people died from prescription opioid overdose in 2015.
CVS was the first large retail pharmacy chain to stop selling cigarettes in 2014.
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