Expand Partial-fill Prescriptions

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Partial-fill policies allow doctors and patients to receive less than a full presciption's worth of medication in a single pharmacy trip, in particular Schedule II prescriptions.[1][2] This clause is included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and it allows pharmacies to only fill a portion of the prescription and patients can return at a later point if they feel the rest of the medication is still needed.[3]
  U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose "argued that implementation of the partial fill policy is needed, as recent efforts to improve education and prescribing guidelines have failed to stop the dramatic increases in opioid prescriptions -- something which they cautioned could lead to a mass of unused medications that further fuel the opioid epidemic."[4]


  • The average pill supply given by doctors in the U.S. increased from 13 days in 2006 to 18 days 2015[5]
  • 6% of individuals who receive a one-day supply of opioids for acute pain are still taking opioids one year later. The number more than doubles to 13.% for those who receive a prescription for eight days or more and jumps to 30 percent for those prescribed 30 days or more.[6]



CVS Pharmacy is the first national retail chain to restrict how many pain pills doctors can give patients.[7] This new policy means new customers with acute short-term pain will only be able to receive a week's worth of opioid painkilers with a single prescription.[8]


Walmart has a new policy to only fill 7 days prescription for opioids with 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day[9]

Insurance Payers

7 Day Fills

Aetna's new initiative "limits acute and post-surgical opioid prescriptions to seven days for first-time prescriptions is a change designed to reduce supply, and most critically, potential for dependence.[10]


  • Will patient's copays be adjusted for partial fills?[11]
  • Will the costs related to dispensing Schedule II medications be adequately covered?[12]


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