Opioid overdose drug to be available without prescription
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health is expanding access to the opioid overdose-reversal medication naloxone to another eight states.
The company said Monday that CVS Pharmacy stores in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Vermont will be able to dispense naloxone to patients in these states without a prescription by the end of March. CVS said the availability of naloxone is being permitted by these states under a physician-approved protocol.
“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-approved protocol that allows our pharmacies to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription, we strengthen our commitment to help the communities we serve by preventing drug abuse.”
CVS has said it plans to add 20 states to its naloxone program in 2016 and expects to announce additional states during the course of the year. Most recently, the company announced plans to make naloxone available without a prescription at all CVS stores in Ohio beginning in late March.
Through standing order or collaborative practice agreements, naloxone is currently available without a prescription at CVS locations in 15 states: Arkansas, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah 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, the White House 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.”