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CVS Caremark Uses Data to Combat National Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic; Program Details Published in New England Journal of Medicine Online
Date:8/22/2013

d substance dispensing through the company's CVS/pharmacy locations and the CVS Caremark Mail Service pharmacies for prescriptions written by the other 36 providers.

"While this program is not a comprehensive solution to prescription drug abuse, it is an important first step that is in line with the ethical duty pharmacists have to ensure that a prescription for a controlled substance is appropriate," said Mitch Betses, R.Ph., Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Services of CVS/pharmacy and a co-author. "We know there are many ways to fight prescription drug abuse and we are committed to continuing to identify solutions to stop the improper use of controlled substances."

The use of controlled substances has increased dramatically, with prescriptions for opioids jumping more than 300 percent between 1999 and 2010. Overdose deaths increased from 4,000 annually to 16,600 during the same period. Such overdoses are now the second leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and more than 2.4 million people were considered to be opioid abusers in 2010.

The NEJM article highlights the role pharmacies can play in helping to curb the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse.  The authors also call on lawmakers and regulators at the state and federal levels to enact policy changes that mandate more transparency into controlled substance prescribing, such as mandatory use of electronic prescribing, and a national, uniform program for prescription drug monitoring.

CVS Caremark also is working at the federal and state levels to implement policy changes to curb prescription drug abuse, including:

  • Mandatory Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances:  The company is urging federal regulators to require e-prescribing for these classes of drugs to reduce "doctor shopping," drug diversion and fraudulent prescriptions.
  • Improved Prescrip
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SOURCE CVS Caremark
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