CVS to Pay Massachusetts $795K, Tighten Policies for Opioids

noopiatesforyouCVS to Pay Massachusetts $795K, Tighten Policies for Opioids


CVS Health Corp. has agreed to pay Massachusetts $795,000 and will tighten its policies for dispensing opioids following an investigation into its drug prescription practices, Attorney General Maura Healey said Thursday.

Healey said a settlement reached between the state and the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based drug store giant resolves past allegations.

Prior to March 2013, Healey’s office says certain CVS locations failed to provide pharmacists with sufficient internet service to access the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. The online database provides a patient’s prescription history and is designed to curb the abuse of addictive medications.

Healey’s office said the investigation also showed that certain CVS pharmacists failed to use “sound professional judgment” when dispensing controlled substances.

At a news conference in Boston on Thursday, Healey said some CVS pharmacists dispensed prescription drugs to customers even after receiving warnings not to.

“This is a problem,” she said.

In a statement, CVS said that the company, which has about 350 pharmacies and 1,200 pharmacists in Massachusetts, recognizes the importance of the state’s prescription database as a tool to detect and prevent drug abuse.

Since the deficiencies were revealed, the company has been requiring its Massachusetts pharmacists to review the customer’s prescription history on the database before dispensing certain prescribed drugs. It has also revised its prescription drug policies and improved pharmacist training.

Healey says the agreement marks the first time CVS has instituted a specific requirement for its pharmacists to check a state prescription drug database.

“This is a big deal,” she said Thursday.

Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, CEO of The Dimock Center, the Boston health center where Healey made the announcement, said the settlement represents an important first step in enforcing critical opioid prevention measures.

Over 1, 500 people died from opioid overdoses in 2015, state officials said Thursday. Healy’s office says $500,000 of the $795,000 that CVS has agreed to pay the state will go to drug abuse programs.

3 Responses

  1. I do not want to appear to be promoting the recreational use of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs – any more than I would actively promote the recreational use of smoking/dipping tobacco products or getting drunk. I am simply suggesting that we might be better off if we stopped treating our citizens like children, and starting treating each other like adults.

    Just as with ANY activity in which we engage in as a society,
    one must engage in this activity in a responsible way, and one must still meet their responsibilities and obligations, and these things can not interfere.

    After all, the leading cause of death of teenagers ages 16-19, according to the CDC, is car wrecks. Shall we outlaw driving at that age? I do not know. I know I’m a much better driver now than I was then (defensively and otherwise). I believe it is the experience I have now, more than the youth I had then, that accounts for the difference – mostly. Automobiles are very dangerous. Yet we allow them on the roads. We could talk and debate all day, and will – probably. Have a good holiday all of you.

  2. Further links, if allowed, for our education and edification on the issue of drug legalization.
    “The War on Drugo”

  3. Why not make opioids legal for recreational and OTC use? It worked for thousands of years prior to 1914. (Yes, I know, synthetic organic chemistry and I.V. needles are recent innovations, but I will get to that objection below with Dr. Halsted.)

    And, no, I don’t believe the hype. I read the other day that it is estimated that 66% of the US population was addicted to heroin in the decades after the Civil War. Am I really supposed to believe this? 66% addicted? Really? How did we manage to ramp up the industrial revolution in those years if we were all addicted?

    No, the DEA, ONDCP, and local/state/federal LEOs will be sorely disappointed to lose their job security. As will the modern day equivalents of the Anti-Saloon League (PROP, FedUP, NIDA, etc). Maybe we could put them to work growing poppies, working in chemical factories (processing thebaine), working at the retail level, etc. And yes, jobs as certified “recovery” professionals if and when such help is needed and desired.

    Recovery, if needed and desired. Don’t forget that William Halsted managed to be a brilliant surgical pioneer at Johns Hopkins for decades while using no less than 3 grains a day of morphine (that’s nearly 200 mg. each day. no less than). Did he need rehab? Did he need drug courts? Did he need CARA? or NIDA? or the DEA, ONDCP, etc? I don’t think so. Others may disagree. How he managed his habit after 1914 and subsequent court decisions, I do not know. But no one was suspicious of him, “not even Welch.” Am I really to believe that he met the diagnostic criteria for addiction if no one noticed, and he was functioning at that level?

    Cut the crap, I say, and LEGALIZE it. ALL of it. If CVS then chooses to take a stand, as they did with nicotine, that is their right. Other pharmacies will be more than happy to fill that void. If the MDs, NPs, BSNs, PharmDs, etc. wish to wag their finger at the opioid user, as they do now with nicotine & ethanol users, let them have at it. But do not give them the power to stand between a free, functional, law-abiding tax payer and his/her self-medication and/or habit of choice. That is inexcusable paternalism, and counterproductive to a good practitioner/patient alliance. (William Halsted, and the other 3 founders)

    postscript: Further anecdotal evidence that illicit/licit drug users can function well without anyone noticing. Well, as much as any corporate executive in Manhattan can function. Some say they are leaches on our society, but that is a separate debate. Reasonable people can disagree. But facts are facts.

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