Attorney General Alan Wilson Joins Bipartisan Letter Urging Opioid Mitigation Programs

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – October 20, 2017 Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined with a bipartisan group of attorneys general from across the country in letters to 15 health care companies that provide pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services, encouraging the companies to implement programs to mitigate prescription opioid abuse.

The attorneys general also sent a letter to the president and CEO of CVS Health Corporation applauding the company’s recent program that automatically enrolled all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients in an opioid abuse mitigation program.

“The opioid epidemic involves everyone from patients to doctors to pharmaceutical companies to pharmacies and insurance companies,” Attorney General Wilson said. “It’s important for all of them to take whatever steps possible to reduce opioid abuse, addiction, and deaths.”

In their letters to the PBMs, the attorneys general asked that the companies adopt similar measures as CVS, including limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to the therapy, limiting the daily dosage of opioids dispensed based on the strength of the opioid, and requiring the use of immediate-release formulations of opioids before extended-release opioids are dispensed. The CVS program’s requirements are similar to the opioid prescribing guidelines recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The multistate PBM letters were sent to:
· Argus Health Systems, Inc.
· Benecard Servies LLC
· Envision Pharmaceutical Services LLC
· Envolve Health
· Express Scripts, Inc.
· Humana, Inc.
· Magellan Rx Management
· MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc.
· Navitus Health Solutions LLC
· OptumRX , Inc.
· PerformRx
· Prime Therapeutics, Inc.
· ProCare Rx
· RxAdvance
· WellDyneRx

“While there are no doubt additional measures that pharmacy benefit managers could take to combat prescription opioid abuse, we believe over-prescribing of opioids could be curtailed by the implementation of a CVS-type program,” the attorneys general wrote.

“The opioid epidemic is the most pressing public health crisis our country faces,” the attorneys general wrote. “It affects every state and has a devastating impact on communities – tearing apart families and stretching the budgets of local law enforcement and first responders as they do the difficult work on the front lines. For our part, attorneys general are pooling resources and coordinating across party lines to address the crisis.”

Opioids, both prescription and illicit, are now the main driver of drug overdose deaths nationwide. According to CDC, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. More than 3,000 South Carolinians have died from prescription opioid overdoses since 2011.

In addition to Attorney General Wilson, those joining today’s letters include attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Please click here to view these letters.

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