WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) announced today that it will expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal medication naloxone at the end of March at its CVS Pharmacy locations in eight new states: Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Vermont. Under a physician-approved protocol permitted by the state, CVS Pharmacy will be able to dispense naloxone to patients in these states without the need for 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-approved protocol that allows our pharmacies to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription, we strengthen our commitment to help the communities we serve by preventing drug abuse."
Naloxone is already available without a prescription at CVS Pharmacy locations through standing order or collaborative practice agreements in 15 states: Arkansas, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. The company has said it will add a total of 20 states to its naloxone program in 2016 and expects to announce additional states throughout the remainder of the year.
"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. In 2015, CVS Health 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 15,000 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 28 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 preventing prescription drug abuse and ensuring safe disposal of unwanted medication that could otherwise be misused," said Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "Tackling drug abuse in our communities requires a committed coalition of community partners and we have been proud to partner with CVS Health on the Safer Communities program since 2014."
About CVS Health
CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its approximately 9,600 retail pharmacies, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 75 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
SOURCE CVS Health