WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it will expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in seven additional states this summer, contributing to a total of 30 states where the life-saving medication will be more accessible to CVS Pharmacy patients. CVS Health's naloxone program establishes a standing order with a physician in the state, which permits CVS Pharmacists to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription.
"Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdose and by expanding availability of this medication, we can save lives and give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery," said Tom Davis, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS Pharmacy. "By establishing a physician-authorized standing order that allows our pharmacies to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription, we strengthen our commitment to helping the communities we serve begin to address the challenges of prescription drug abuse."
Expansion of the company's naloxone program will begin with New Mexico in late May; followed by Louisiana in early June; Florida in early July; Colorado, Idaho and Oregon in mid-July; and Washington in early August. Naloxone is already available without a prescription at CVS Pharmacy locations through standing order or collaborative practice agreements in 23 states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
"Expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is a critical part of our national strategy to stop the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic – along with effective prevention, treatment, and enforcement," said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Thanks to efforts on naloxone like those announced today by CVS Health, more Americans will have access to this lifesaving drug."
The move to expand access to naloxone builds on CVS Health's longstanding commitment to help communities address and prevent drug abuse through education, outreach and safe medication disposal. Patients visiting CVS.com can find recently launched drug abuse prevention resources for themselves and their families. The company has also launched a community outreach program called Pharmacists Teach, which brings local pharmacists to high school health classes to talk to students about the dangers of drug abuse. More than 80,000 students have already been part of the program. High schools across the country can learn more about bringing Pharmacists Teach to their school here.
CVS Health has also joined with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, which has donated more than 500 drug disposal units to police departments around the country. The program gives members of the community a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medication and has already collected more than 35 metric tons of prescription drugs. Police departments across the country can apply to receive a drug collection unit from the program here.
"CVS Health has been a leader in the work of helping communities prevent prescription drug abuse," said Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "In addition to proper disposal of unwanted medication, increasing access to naloxone is a critical public health priority that allows patients and their families to prevent opioid fatalities and recognize when people need help working towards recovery from the disease of addiction."
About CVS Health:
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,600 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 80 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, and expanding specialty pharmacy services, the Company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.
Erin Shields Britt
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SOURCE CVS Health