WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy locations in four more states can now dispense the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone to patients without a prescription.
CVS Health said Thursday that with the addition of CVS pharmacies in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa and South Carolina, CVS Pharmacy locations in 41 states provide no-prescription access to naloxone.
Georgia, Iowa and South Carolina allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone under a standing order from a doctor, CVS said, while Arizona regulations give pharmacists prescriptive authority to provide the medication.
“CVS Health is committed to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve and increasing access to this life-saving medication is an important part of that commitment,” Tom Davis, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS Pharmacy, said in a statement. “Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdose and by expanding availability of this medication, we can save lives and give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery.”
A recent CVS Health/Morning Consult survey indicated a significant need for greater awareness about the availability of naloxone and its role in reversing potentially fatal opioid overdoses, CVS noted. Less than half (46%) of those polled said that they had heard of the drug, and awareness varied significantly by geographic region. In the West and the South, 38% and 40% of respondents, respectively, had heard of naloxone, compared with 50% in the Midwest and 63% in the Northeast.
“Overuse and abuse of opioids is a public health epidemic,” commented Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Making naloxone more widely available and accessible is a critical component of a broader strategy to prevent overdose deaths. I applaud CVS Health for its leadership.”
CVS now dispenses naloxone to patients without an individual prescription in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.