Cigna, an American worldwide health services organization, is involved in reducing the misuse of prescription painkillers. The company announced that it will stop covering the cost of use of the opioid OxyContin by customers of their employer-based health plans beginning in January. Cigna also announced a contract will help to cover oxycodone (used to treat moderate to severe pain)instead of OxyContin. This announcement came two months after President Donald Trump said the opioid-abuse crisis is a “national emergency.”
The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there were more than 33,000 opioid-related deaths in 2015 and more than more than half of those deaths were linked to prescription of opioids such as OxyContin (the only opioid-based prescription painkiller). The rest are related to heroin or to fentanyl (a synthetic opioid).Cigna is removing OxyContin in 2018 as a preferred option from its list of medication.
The company also declared that people who have already started using OxyContin for hospital care or cancer treatments will continue to have that medicine covered next year. They are notifying customers who presently use OxyContin, as well as their doctors, of their decision to stop covering the opioid so that alternative arrangements can be made.
The company spokesperson said that they found a strong sense of obligation to reduce opioid overuse. In 2016, Cigna declared lowering the use of opioids among its customers by 25% over the next three years and would encourage doctors to prescribe the drugs in lesser quantities and for lesser amounts of time.