How much would CVS’s 7-day limit on painkiller prescriptions help solve the opioid crisis?

Sep 22, 2017

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A pedestrian walks by a CVS store on June 15, 2015 in San Francisco, California.; Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


The opioid crisis has reached epidemic status. And today, the country’s largest pharmacy chain has pledged its support to help.

CVS Pharmacy has announced it will limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for certain conditions for new patients seeking drugs for pain relief. The pharmacy will also put a limit of pain pills they dispense based on their strength.

The changes will take place at CVS pharmacies on February 1, 2018.

The move will mean more work for doctors and for pharmacists, would it help mitigate the opioid abuse?


Anna Lembke, M.D., head of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic; her latest book is “Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop” (Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2016)

Adams Dudley, M.D., professor of medicine and health policy and director of the Center for Healthcare Value at UC San Francisco; he tweets @RAdamsDudleyMD

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