CHARLESTON – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a bipartisan group of attorneys general in letters to encourage 15 companies to implement programs to mitigate opioid abuse within the prescription benefit component of their health care plans.
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.
“I am proud to stand with other attorneys general in the fight against opioid abuse,” Morrisey said. “It is important that we work together and do all we can to prevent unnecessary deaths.”
The attorneys general asked that the prescription drug benefit managers adopt similar measures as CVS. That includes 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.
“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.
“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.”
The letters were sent to: Argus Health Systems Inc., Benecard Services 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 and WellDyneRx.
In addition to West Virginia, attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands joined one or both letters.