The CVS drugstore chain has taken the unusual step of ceasing to honor prescriptions written by medical professionals whom the company has found to have prescribed an excessive number of pain killers. Using its extensive database that tracks such behaviors, CVS has already revoked the privileges of 36 practitioners.
"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, Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Services of CVS, in a press release. "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 Chief Medical Officer of CVS, Dr. Troyen Brennan, wrote an article in New England Journal of Medicine highlighting the role pharmacies can play in preventing prescription drug abuse. Brennan also called on state and federal lawmakers to enact policy changes that mandate more transparency into controlled substance prescribing, such as a national program for prescription drug monitoring.
CVS also announced that it is also working to combat drug abuse in the following ways:
- Mandatory electronic prescribing for controlled substances.
- Providing safe medicine disposal sites.
- Working with states to improve their monitoring programs.
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