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CVS Pharmacies Take Steps to Help Curb Prescription Drug Abuse

CVS pharmacy has used its extensive physician database to identify doctors who blatantly over prescribe dangerous drugs like opioid painkillers and suspend service to those doctors. prescription drug abuse

The company evaluated its data about prescriptions filled at CVS and identified problem prescribers by studying their volume and share of high-risk drugs versus other providers in the same specialty and geographic region, as well as the ages of patients and their payment methods. Their efforts fingered 42 doctors who were then asked to provide more information about the way they prescribe medicine. And out of those 42, only six were able to give legitimate reasons for their high volume of prescriptions handed out. CVS suspended suspended controlled substance dispensing through the company’s CVS pharmacy locations and the CVS Caremark Mail Service pharmacies for prescriptions written by the other 36 healthcare providers.

Details of the unique program were published online first on The New England Journal of Medicine website at

“Prescription drug abuse in this country is an epidemic, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark and co-author of the article, Abusive Prescribing of Controlled Substances A Pharmacy View. “CVS Caremark, one of the largest providers of prescription drugs, is committed to mitigating prescription drug abuse by advancing legislation, promoting technology and creating safer communities.”

Other steps the pharmacy is taking to combat prescription drug abuse include:

  • Mandatory Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances: The company is urging federal regulators to require e-prescribing for these classes of drugs to reduce “doctor shopping,” drug diversion and fraudulent prescriptions.
  • Improved Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs): These state-run databases are operating in 46 states to help providers and pharmacists identify patients at risk of overdose and drug abuse, but improvements are needed to encourage interoperability between different states and make PDMP data directly available to prescribers and dispensers.
  • Proper Prescription Drug Disposal: CVS Caremark is committed to working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal and state officials on more innovative and effective ways to manage drug take-back initiatives.


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