CVS No Longer Requiring Prescriptions for Naloxone in Some States

CVS Health expands access to drug that reverses opioid overdoses.

CVS Health recently expanded access to naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, in Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Missouri, and West Virginia.

In these states, patients will be able to access naloxone without a prescription at CVS Pharmacies. Pharmacists in these states have already started dispensing the medication without prescriptions, according to CVS Health. They have also increased access to the drug in 36 other states.

This new program allows the dispensing of naloxone without a prescription, which will increase access to the life-saving drug. They plan to expand the naloxone program to other states as well, according to a press release.

“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.”

This most recent expansion builds on their commitment to preventing drug abuse through education, outreach, and safe medication disposal, according to CVS. They provide online resources and 2 youth prevention programs for patients.

“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.”

CVS Health also created the Pharmacists Teach program, which has pharmacists speaking to high school students about drug abuse. Since implementation, pharmacists have spoken to more than 100,000 students.

A partnership between CVS Health and resulted in an online- and text message-based peer-to-peer prevention and intervention program. They have also collaborated with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to create the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program.

This program has donated more than 600 medication disposal boxes to police departments, according to the press release. To date, they have collected more than 47 tons of prescription drugs, by providing communities with a way to safely dispose of medications.

Improper medication disposal has been associated with an increase in prescription drug misuse and harmful environmental effects. Santa Cruz, California has even gone as far as making drug manufacturers and retailers responsible for the safe disposal of unwanted prescription drugs to prevent environmental harm.

“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.”