Health News

CVS Moves to Limit Length and Strength of Opioid Prescriptions

Certain drugs will be capped at a seven-day supply.

CVS

Photo via istock.com/coast-to-coast

As opioid manufacturers and distributors come under increasing fire, a major New England pharmacy is doing its part to curtail the opioid crisis.

CVS Health, which is headquartered in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, announced Thursday that it will place new limits on the length and strength of many opioid prescriptions dispensed to patients. Moving forward, opioids prescribed for certain acute conditions will be capped at a seven-day supply; daily dosage limits will be enforced dependent on the potency of the drug; and immediate-release formulations must be used before extended-release drugs, which may carry a higher risk of dependence, overdose, and death.

In addition to the new limits, CVS will add 750 in-store disposal units for unwanted or unused drugs, in an effort to keep prescription pills out of the wrong hands. It’s also expanding its opioid abuse education initiatives and investing an additional $2 million in community health centers fighting the epidemic.

“The opioid epidemic touches all of the communities we serve, and as a pharmacy innovation company, we are in a unique position to make a difference,” a statement from CVS reads.

This isn’t the first time CVS has made targeting substance abuse a priority. It has made overdose-reversing Narcan available without a prescription in more than a dozen states, and in 2015 teamed up with Boston Medical Center on a pilot program testing how pharmacies can help prevent addiction and overdose deaths.