First responders and the treatment community as a whole give communities access to some of the tools they need to battle a raging addiction epidemic, there are a lot of measures that have been proposed to keep people from ever starting drugs. While some pharmaceutical companies are becoming mired in lawsuits for making and marketing drugs that are obviously addictive, different stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry are taking their own actions. With preventing addiction at the top of the priority list, CVS Pharmacy has made a bold move on their own volition to help stem the tide of people afflicted with a substance abuse disorder.

CVS’s new action shows that the industry has finally begun to realize that addiction often begins at home. Drug abuse, especially opiate abuse, which has been causing deaths across the country, is simply dangerous. This is true whether it’s from a pill bottle belonging to the drug abuser or a bottle of unused pills that a teenager has discovered in the cabinet.

New CVS Policies

CVS announced the creation of 3 new policies meant to help combat opioid addiction. These policies will be put into action next February and enforced via its pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Caremark. Approximately 90 million people use this service. The policies are as follows:

  1. Patients who are not currently prescribed opioids will only get seven days’ worth of medication.
  2. Daily dosages will be limited.
  3. Immediate-release formulations of drugs will be tried before extended-release versions are prescribed.

None of these policies can be put into place, however, without speaking to a doctor before the prescription is modified. Doctors can ask for exemptions for certain patients, and both employers and insurers can opt out of the program, making it totally in control of the healthcare plan and doctor in terms of opioid management.

How Does It Work?

When a pharmacist gets a prescription that doesn’t meet these guidelines, they will then call the doctor to have them modify the prescription voluntarily. CVS pharmacies already call doctors when a prescription isn’t covered, so this is a simple task to be added to their duties.

No other pharmacy has tried anything like this before, and it’s uncertain how many doctors will decide to lower dosages or pill amounts, however, it’s a good way to remind medical professionals about the addiction epidemic going on here in America. Perhaps it will teach doctors to think and be more mindful about the pills they’re prescribing.

CVS said the new rules are meant to follow the prescribing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year.