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CVS Pharmacy to Offer Safe Medication Disposal Chain-Wide in 2020

Company to add more than 1,000 safe medication disposal units to communities nationwide

Commitment builds on enhanced community-based prevention education, prescriber training and utilization management programs

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CVS Health (CVS) today announced all CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide will offer customers a free safe medication disposal option, beginning in 2020.  The company will add 1,000 in-store safe medication disposal units to the more than 1,700 units currently in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide.  It will also donate up to 400 additional units to local police departments, in addition to the more than 990 units already donated to law enforcement.  Together, the existing medication disposal units have collected more than 1.1 million pounds of unwanted or expired medications. 

Beginning in 2020, CVS Pharmacy will offer a simple and safe drug disposal solution to aid in fight against opioid misuse. (PRNewsfoto/CVS Health)

Additionally, beginning next year, all CVS Pharmacy locations that do not offer a safe medication disposal kiosk will begin to offer DisposeRx® packets at no cost to patients filling an opioid prescription for the first time.  According to the manufacturer, when water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a pill bottle with unwanted prescription medications, the combination produces a biodegradable gel, allowing for safe disposal at home.

This Saturday, October 26 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and nearly 100 CVS Pharmacy locations will join other community sites throughout the country in hosting drug take-back events, to further promote the safe disposal of unwanted medication in coordination with the biannual event hosted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  And, working with Google Maps, CVS Health is also making it easier for consumers to find year-round medication disposal options at CVS Pharmacy and other locations.  Consumers can quickly search "drug drop off near me" in Google Maps to locate permanent disposal locations in their community.

"Our Safe Medication Disposal efforts allow people to easily get rid of unneeded medications – including controlled substances – at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their community, getting opioids out of medicine cabinets where they could be diverted or misused," said Thomas Moriarty, Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer, CVS Health.  "Providing more options for proper disposal of unused medications in our stores and in the home is just one of the ways we're working to help combat prescription opioid misuse and build healthier communities."

CVS Health's Safe Medication Disposal Program is one of many company initiatives to help address and prevent prescription opioid abuse.  CVS Health is also collaborating with Discovery Education, tapping into their expertise in digital curriculum and content, to enhance CVS Health's prescription drug abuse prevention education program, Pharmacists Teach.  The program, which has already reached more than 500,000 students and parents across the country, will aim to reach an additional 1.4 million people over three years following this investment.

Additionally, to increase awareness among prescribers about opioid use disorder and non-opioid pain management options, the company's Aetna business unit is offering an Opioid Prescriber Educational Incentive Program.  This program will provide financial incentives to physicians, in markets that experience higher rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, to participate in face-to-face educational sessions. In collaboration with the non-profit organization Alosa Health, the sessions share best practices in managing patients with chronic pain as well as patients struggling with addiction.  The program will also provide incentives for providers designated as a qualified practitioner to administer medication-assisted therapy under the requirements set out by federal law. This program will begin with select providers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maine, West Virginia and Ohio. 

The company's prescription benefit management business, CVS Caremark is offering clients the option to limit opioid prescriptions to a three-day supply for pediatric patients with an acute condition who haven't taken opioids before. That's in addition to the existing opioid utilization management strategy offered to CVS Caremark clients, which aligns with the Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  For clients adopting it, the existing strategy already limits adults with an acute condition who are new to opioid therapy to a 7-day supply. 

Finally, CVS Pharmacy patients can now access the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone without an individual prescription at every CVS Pharmacy location nationwide, including all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.  CVS Health has also worked with Google to help people locate naloxone at CVS Pharmacy and other locations in their local community using Google's locator tool.

About CVS Health
CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact:

Erin Shields Britt
Corporate Communications
(401) 770-9237
Erin.Britt@CVSHealth.com

CVS Health has safe medication disposal at over 1,700 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country. (PRNewsfoto/CVS Health)
CVS Health (PRNewsFoto/CVS Health)
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