Chicago limits opioid prescriptions for city employees

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that many city employees will be limited to 7 days' worth of prescription opioids at a time. CDC recommends prescribing opioid analgesics for short durations for acute pain, saying 3 days is often enough and more than 7 days is rarely necessary.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that many city employees will be limited to 7 days' worth of prescription opioids at a time. CDC recommends prescribing opioid analgesics for short durations for acute pain, saying 3 days is often enough and more than 7 days is rarely necessary. Some insurers, PBMs, pharmacies, and states have set similar restrictions. If municipal employees require more than 7 days of opioids, they will have to obtain prior authorization, says Julie Morita, MD, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Patients being treated for cancer pain, chronic pain, terminal illness, or who are on palliative or hospice care may obtain lengthier prescriptions. The city, which has about 33,000 staff members, uses CVS Caremark and Prime Therapeutics as its PBMs, according to Morita. A total of 741 people in Chicago died of opioid overdoses in 2016, a 74% increase from the previous year.