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Anthem hits goal to reduce opioid prescriptions two years early

By | Sep 7, 2017

More people in the United States are suffering from opioid addiction and dying from overdoses than ever before.

More people in the United States are suffering from opioid addiction and dying from overdoses than ever before. In early August, President Trump declared this crisis a national emergency. Long before that, Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans set aggressive goals to reduce opioid abuse by 2019 and help members needing addiction treatment get it faster. We've just reached our collective goal of reducing prescribed opioids filled at pharmacies by 30 percent — nearly two years earlier than originally projected.

Our company was among the first to limit benefits for short-acting opioids and set up programs to monitor longer periods of use. The aim was to reduce prescriptions for these drugs and prevent accidental addiction.

Opioids are drugs commonly prescribed to relieve pain, like morphine, methadone, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. While useful when used correctly, their misuse has led to this crisis. Limiting prescribed quantities is only part of the solution.

We also have pharmacy home programs to limit drug access to a single pharmacy and prescriber, when needed. This allows doctors to monitor drug use and make sure members get counseling during therapy. We work in ways that help deter fraud and prescription drug abuse. We're also committed to doubling the number of members who receive behavioral health services for opioid addiction by 2019.

You can read more about these efforts in our press release.

As one of the largest health insurers in the country, we’ve always strived to make changes that improve the health and lives of our members and our communities. It’s our duty to those we serve.

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