Major employers, health plans launch program aimed at opioid addiction prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 90 Americans are dying due to opioid overdoses every day, but Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) – the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits manager – has teamed up with 600 employers and health plans to launch a program aimed at patients that are newly prescribed opioids.

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“We are bringing together data analytics, behavioral science…and then importantly a direct line to specialist pharmacists in neuroscience for every one of these patients to help at the front end ensure that they use the products appropriately and understand the products,” Express Scripts CEO Tim Wentworth said during an exclusive interview on the FOX Business Network.

According to Express Scripts, two million Americans are addicted to prescribed narcotics, more than 1,000 people are treated each day in emergency rooms for opioid misuse and only 3% of opioids are prescribed by pain specialists. Wentworth said recent trials on the program provided promising results.

“When we ran a trial with two different groups – over 100,000 folks. We saw a 40% reduction in emergency room visits, a 38% reduction in hospitalization and up to 20% reduction in the amount of drugs actually the patients had on hand,” he said.

The new program was launched nationwide Wednesday.