Cigna Health has announced it will no longer cover costs for OxyContin, saying it’s part of the company’s effort to reduce the opioid epidemic.
There might be a new way to fight the opioid epidemic.
Encourage drug manufacturers to stop promoting the use of some prescription painkillers. In particular, those with higher dosage levels.
Cigna Health Insurance has taken a step in that direction. At least with one drug.
The health insurer announced earlier this month that it will no longer cover most prescriptions for the opioid painkiller OxyContin.
Instead, it’ll switch to Collegium Pharmaceutical’s Xtampza ER. It’s another oxycodone-derived drug with safeguards against potential abuse.
Cigna said it has signed a deal with Collegium intended to encourage physicians to prescribe lower doses of Xtampza ER.
“Cigna is intentionally aligning with stakeholders — including doctors, national and local organizations, and drug manufacturers — who share our mission to reduce the inappropriate and unnecessary overuse of opioids,” Karen Eldred, a Cigna spokesperson, told Healthline.
Last year, Cigna announced a goal of reducing its customers’ opioid use by 25 percent in three years.
“Our focus is on helping customers get the most value from their medications — this means obtaining effective pain relief while also guarding against opioid misuse,” Jon Maesner, PharmD, Cigna’s chief pharmacy officer, said in a press release.
Stacey E. Grant, PharmD, director of clinical consult services at axialHealthcare, commended Cigna for recognizing “the inherent risks of providing extensive coverage for opioids” while “also taking steps to curb the epidemic facing tens of millions of Americans.”