- CVS Health, the giant pharmacy chain, is joining the fight against opioid addiction by providing counseling and making changes to the way it provides opioids for certain prescriptions, BenefitsPro reports. CVS Caremark, the prescription benefit management (PBM) subsidiary of CVS Health, will launch a series of measures in response to the epidemic on Feb. 1, 2018, for all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients.
- CVS will limit the supply of opioids to seven days for new patients, limit the daily dosage according to the drug's strength and require that immediate-release opioids be dispensed before extended-release formulas of the drug are released.
- BenefitsPro says CVS Pharmacy locations will offer a safe-use education program to people filling a prescription as well as counseling from pharmacists on safe drug disposal methods and the risks of dependency. The program focuses on opioid safety use, the dangers of addiction and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the lowest effective dosage for opioids and other recommendations.
Drug addiction is driving one in five men out of the workforce, so it's little wonder that employers are concerned about the current epidemic of opioid addiction, especially with a skills shortage already weighing heavily on recruitment efforts. Drug abuse is, in fact, one of the latest barriers to hiring; job applicants fail employer-conducted drug tests between 25% and 50% of the time.
A new Quest Diagnotics study demonstrates more evidence of widespread opioid misuse. According to the study, 52% of tests results indicate the probability of prescription drug abuse. Companies like CVS are attacking opioid addiction before its onset by counseling patients on the dangers of addiction and by limiting the drug's availability. CVS Caremark also has stake in some employer plans, and could impact employer plans that deal with the company.
Employers can take preventive steps in combating opioid addiction by incorporating drug-abuse education in their wellness programs, health coverage plans and employee assistance programs.