WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has extended nonprescription access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone to five more states.
CVS said Thursday that patients can now get the medication at CVS Pharmacy locations in Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia without a prescription, allowing CVS Pharmacy patients to access the medication without an individual prescription. Overall, CVS locations in 36 states now have increased access to the life-saving opioid overdose-reversal drug.
CVS’ naloxone program establishes a standing order with a physician in the state or uses pharmacists’ prescriptive authority to permit CVS pharmacists to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription. Pharmacists in these five states began dispensing the medication this week.
“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,” Tom Davis, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS Pharmacy, said in a statement. “By establishing a physician-authorized standing order that allows our pharmacies to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription, we strengthen our commitment to helping the communities we serve begin to address the challenges of prescription drug abuse.”
CVS said it plans to further expand its naloxone program to other states in the coming months. Other states where CVS provides nonprescription access to naloxone include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
“Expanding access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone is a critical part of our national strategy to stop the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic – along with effective prevention, treatment, and enforcement,” stated Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy. “Thanks to efforts on naloxone like those announced today by CVS Health, more Americans will have access to this life-saving drug.”