I’m not a big fan of The War On (Some) Drugs. The crimes committed in its name are legion. But something that is often overlooked are the non-crimes, the things that are done by those who are attempting to avoid being caught up in one of the multitudinous snares of the law or, worse yet, the acts of the virtue signalers.
That last one peeves the crap out of me. The latest and so far most egregious case I’ve seen is this crap from the CVS drug store chain, whose CVS Health CEO is the mouthpiece for their corporate decision that they know better than your doctor just how much pain meds you need.
“As America’s front door to health care with a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the country, we see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health. “Today we are announcing an expansion of our enterprise initiatives to fight the opioid abuse epidemic that leverages CVS Pharmacy’s national presence with the capabilities of CVS Caremark, which manages medications for nearly 90 million plan members.”
To support this goal, CVS Caremark will roll out an enhanced opioid utilization management approach for all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients as of February 1, 2018 unless the client chooses to opt out. This program will include limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to 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.
The big problem with this isn’t for CVS customers, who can presumably got to another drug store. It’s for those whose healthcare insurance has farmed out the prescription plan portion of the insurance to CVS Caremark. Caremark will simply refuse coverage for prescriptions that runs for too long, or where the dosage is too high or where an extended-release drug is prescribed. Caremark, in effect, has decided that they are smarter than your doctor and that they know better than your doc, who has actually seen you in person and evaluated your situation, how your pain should be treated.
Yes, Virginia, there is an opioid drug crisis in America. I just returned from West Virginia, which can be said to be ground zero for it. I’ve seen the damage it does. I’ve also seen the unintended consequences of the crackdown on prescription opioid abuse, which is a switchover to heroin and a spike in HIV infections. So far, no one seems to care much about that. I guess because those people are now criminals and are no longer sympathetic, like the poor are. No, I don’t know what the solution is. Yeah, treatment and such. Maybe a government that doesn’t try to destroy your livelihood would be a good thing. Hope that you and your kids actually have a future in the place you love wouldn’t hurt.
If there is any justice in the world the jackasses like CVS Caremark and their virtue signaling CEO and presumably board of directors will find themselves in serious, intractable physical pain someday, and denied the effective meds to deal with it.
Because denying people with a legitimate need is always the best way to deal with the illegal use of a legal product.