CVS Takes Action Against Opioid Abuse


CVS Takes Action Against Opioid Abuse

CVS is taking serious steps in order to fight the nationwide opioid abuse epidemic, as was announced on Friday. The drug store chain will be implementing their new strategies over the next several months: limiting disbursement of opioid prescriptions over short periods of time, reducing stronger/long-release opioids, and enhancing pharmacist counseling for new opioid patients. CVS will also be contributing $2 million to opioid abuse treatment programs.

Because opioids are generally cheaper than safer alternatives, insurance companies are reluctant to give priority to the safer, more expensive drugs.

New York Times reported last week that “many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.”

This means that on the business side of things, CVS is taking a great risk. On the moral/ethical side of things, however, this move is unquestionably better for the consumer—it fits the customer health-centered brand that the company has been making for itself.

Opioid abuse can be prevented if priorities are in order. As stated by Forbes magazine, “it is hard to imagine that the savings of cheaper generic opioid prescriptions would not pale when compared to the long-term cost of addiction for insurers, but actuarial math can be counter-intuitive.”

In 2014, CVS took another risk and stopped selling cigarettes and tobacco products. In the eight months following, the company reported that overall, the average smoker smoked five fewer packs, and 95 million fewer packs of cigarettes were sold.

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