Anthem Blue Cross touts its program to help curb opioid abuse, limiting high-risk members to one pharmacy

The opioid epidemic seems to be focused on heroin, but that’s only part of the picture, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield President Deb Moessner writes in an op-ed for The Courier-Journal. “Prescription drug abuse and misuse is the other part.” At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.

“In Kentucky, deaths from drug overdose went up 4.2 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to the National Vital Statistics System . . . with 24.7 deaths per 100,000 people, Kentucky has the fourth highest death rate nationally of drug overdose deaths in 2014,” Moessner writes.
The numbers show “Prescription drug abuse is not just a personal problem, it is a public health problem,” Moessner writes, saying everyone from individuals and businesses to governments and community organizations should do their part to turn things around.
Health insurers are in a unique position because they have access to medical records that many doctors and pharmacists do not, so they can bring new tools to the fight to “help curb drug dependence and addiction,” Moessner writes.

In April, Anthem launched the Pharmacy Home program “designed to help reduce addiction to opioids and other prescription drugs” by enrolling “high-risk members in a ‘pharmacy home,’ which limits their drug coverage to one member-chosen home pharmacy,” Moessner writes.

“The program will help redirect members to appropriate care, prevent death, and hopefully, prevent deaths and major medical problems from overdose and drug interaction. Neither Anthem’s Pharmacy Home program nor proper disposal of prescription drugs will solve the issue of opioid addiction, but they are good first steps.” (Read more)

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