(NN&V Staff) – In an ongoing effort to avert Nevada’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, the pharmacy industry in Nevada is identifying new and innovative ways to halt inappropriate prescriptions of high risk drugs such as opioid painkillers.
During today’s meeting of the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, Elizabeth MacMenamin, Vice President of the Retail Association of Nevada, provided some insight into this troubling epidemic, “Nevada must bring to the table the global healthcare community, including, manufactures, pharmacies, dispensing practitioners, and all representatives from the medical community if we truly want to solve these prescribing anomalies.”
As one of the leaders of the industry, CVS Caremark is utilizing its extensive database to provide needed information in the fight against drug abuse. “Prescription drug abuse in this country is an epidemic, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark and co-author of the article, “Abusive Prescribing of Controlled Substances – A Pharmacy View.”
Brennan added, “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.”
In a recent new effort, CVS Caremark 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.
The program identified 42 outlying prescribers who were then asked to provide additional information about their prescribing habits. Of these, only six identified legitimate reasons for their unusual prescribing practices. As a result of the analysis and outreach, CVS Caremark 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 providers.
“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, R.Ph., Senior Vice President, Pharmacy Services of CVS/pharmacy and a co-author.
“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.”