3 real actions Prime is taking against the opioid crisis

July 26, 2017

America is in an epidemic. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported some 22,500 people died from opioid addiction or misuse. Medical and prescription costs associated with the crisis are soaring, at roughly $78.8 billion per year. The costs are astronomical — both socially and fiscally. At Prime Therapeutics (Prime), we know controlled substance management – including opioids – requires a multi-pronged approach. Prime has been taking action to help address the opioid crisis for more than a decade by: 


We were built by our Blue Cross and Blue Shield owners and clients to be an integrated company. This integration helps us understand the many benefits that come from collaboration. Prime is an active contributor to the national conversation on opioid management. We:

  • routinely participate with national organizations such as the Institute For Clinical and Economic Review (ICER)
  • help expand industry knowledge by presenting research at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)
  • contributed to developing and testing guidelines now utilized by Medicare STAR measures related to overlapping usage of opioids, anti-anxiety/sedative hypnotics and muscle relaxants.


Prime’s research is peer-reviewed and publicly vetted, and often, so are the results. Our controlled substance (CS) score is publicly available to all in an effort to help control substance abuse. Driven by analytics, the CS score is used to identify members who may be at significant risk for misuse and harm. 


The opioid epidemic needs better thinking, not just harder-working products. Part of our Controlled Substance Management Program is designed to work “upstream,” to prevent abuse before it happens. A preventative approach has always been Prime’s way of helping members with chronic conditions — this requires true innovation as opposed to reacting to a market trend. Prime is developing a new method of predictive modeling to identify individuals who are early in their opioid use, and show characteristics known to lead to levels of unsafe use. This tool will position Prime to work upstream with prescribers, and help educate members so that misuse can be avoided before it ever starts.

At Prime, our purpose is to help people get the medicine they need to feel better and live well. We are committed to producing and sharing evidence-based analyses to help save lives and money, especially when those medicines can be misused and cause harm. We invite you to learn more about our multi-faceted approach for controlled substance management. Please contact your Prime representative to learn how to keep your members free from the harms of opioids.