RICHMOND, Va. — CVS Health has made the opioid overdose-reversal medicine naloxone available without a prescription at all of its CVS Pharmacy locations in Virginia.
CVS announced the move Wednesday at an event here with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Health and Human Resources Secretary William Hazel and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. CVS said it has established a standing order with doctors in Virginia that allows all of the 279 CVS drug stores in the state to provide the naloxone medication without requiring a prescription.
“Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and, by expanding access to this medication in our Virginia pharmacies by the use of a physician’s standing order for patients without a prescription, we can help save lives,” Tom Davis, vice president of pharmacy professional practices at CVS Pharmacy, said in a statement. “We support expanding naloxone availability to give more people a chance to get the help they need for recovery and we applaud Governor McAuliffe and the State of Virginia for their leadership in the fight against drug abuse and addiction.”
McAuliffe noted that drug overdose has been the No. 1 cause of unnatural death in Virginia for the past three years, with about 1,000 Virginians dying from drug overdose last year, including more than 500 from prescription opioids and 300 from heroin.
“So we know that this particular class of narcotic, which includes both prescription and illegal drugs, is the primary killer that we must confront if we are going to end this epidemic,” McAuliffe stated. “CVS Health’s decision to make naloxone available without a prescription at all of its Virginia locations is a welcome and important step that will save lives here in Virginia.”
Moran added, “Families and friends of people with addiction are often the actual first people to encounter a person who has overdosed. Making naloxone more easily available to them at drug stores like CVS is one step toward saving a life.”
Besides in Virginia, CVS pharmacies in 22 states can now dispense naloxone without the need for a prescription. In late April, CVS announced the availability of naloxone without a prescription at its approximately 50 pharmacy locations in New Hampshire.
*Video courtesy of ABC News/WRIC.