WOONSOCKET, R.I., Sept. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today that the opioid overdose-reversal medication naloxone is now available without an individual prescription at all 53 CVS Pharmacy locations in Kansas, including those located inside Target stores. CVS Pharmacists will be able to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription under a new statewide regulatory protocol.
"Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by expanding access to this medication in our pharmacies in Kansas we can help save lives," said Tom Davis, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Services at CVS Pharmacy. "CVS Health is dedicated to helping the communities we serve address and prevent prescription drug abuse and we are expanding access to naloxone to give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery."
A number of state officials and elected leaders also weighed in on the importance of expanded naloxone availability:
"The new Kansas law making opioid antagonist medications, such as naloxone, available without a prescription will save lives only with the support of pharmacies to make the medications available. I applaud CVS for its commitment to this effort," said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
"This new protocol is an important public safety measure. Pharmacists may now dispense emergency opioid antagonists to patients, first responder agencies, school nurses and bystanders without a prescription under a statewide protocol. A multi-professional workgroup was instrumental in the development of this legislation and protocol, which allows CVS Health to make this announcement today. Thank you to everyone involved for investing their time and effort to bring this forward," said State Senator Vicki Schmidt.
"The national opioid epidemic knows no boundaries as it also claims the lives of our colleagues, neighbors, friends and loved ones here in Kansas. It was imperative that the Health Committees of both the House and Senate prioritize legislation earlier this year to make it possible for pharmacies like CVS to increase access to naloxone in our state. I am pleased we were able to work together to accomplish this goal. If we can save one life, it was more than worth it," said State Representative Dan Hawkins.
Today's naloxone announcement builds on CVS Health's commitment to helping communities address and prevent prescription drug abuse by focusing on prevention and safe medication disposal. In 2015, CVS Health launched a community outreach program called Pharmacists Teach, which brings CVS pharmacists to local schools to talk to students about the dangers of drug abuse. More than 275,000 students across the U.S. have already taken part in the program. High school teachers and administrators can learn more about bringing Pharmacists Teach to their school at www.CVSHealth.com.
CVS Health has also joined with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to create the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, which donates disposal units to local police departments, providing a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted medication. Law enforcement officials in Kansas can apply to receive a drug collection unit at www.cvs.com/safercommunities. Additionally, CVS Health has launched digital resources on its website CVS.com that give patients and families information about drug abuse prevention.
With the addition of Kansas, CVS Pharmacy now dispenses naloxone to patients without an individual prescription in these 43 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its nearly 9,700 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 90 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