Two CVS pharmacists wrote an editorial for this month’s New England Journal of Medicine that describes how the pharmacy has started to limit the ability of doctors to over-prescribe medication.
The article, written by Mitch Betses, R.Ph., and Troyen Brennan, M.D., M.P.H, describes how opioid prescriptions increased by more than 300 percent between 1999 and 2010, and how this has lead to an increase in drug overdoses, from approximately 4,000 in 1999 to 16,600 in 2010.
“Pharmacies have a role to play in the oversight of prescriptions for controlled substances, and opioid analgesics in particular,” the article says. “Chain pharmacies, however, have the advantage of aggregated information on all prescriptions filled at the chain. At CVS, we recently instituted a program of analysis and actions to limit inappropriate prescribing. Our program was intended to identify and take action against physicians and other prescribers who exhibited extreme patterns of use of ‘high-risk drugs’ relative to other prescribers.”
After analyzing data, CVS officials were able to contact doctors where they saw patterns of potential over-prescribing. According to the article, 15 doctors were contacted—five gave reasons why their practice prescribed higher numbers of narcotics, while 10 maintained that their prescriptions were legitimate and offered no explanation. Due to the lack of an explanation, CVS stopped filling prescriptions requested by these doctors.
Over-prescribing medication can lead to prescription drug abuse, which can lead to death, heath attacks, organ failure, depression and anxiety and addictive personality traits. Doctors who recklessly over-prescribe patients medications can be held liable for their negligence.
Contact our drug injury lawyers if you have experienced negative side effects from a dangerous or defective drug. Our firm offers confidential, no obligation consultations, with strong moral principle and integrity.
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