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Cigna nets 25% opioid reduction

March 29, 2018
by Tom Valentino, Senior Editor
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Cigna announced this week that its partnership with more than 1.1 million prescribers has netted a reduction in opioid use among its customers by 25%, one year ahead of the project’s original goal when it was unveiled in May 2016.

To facilitate the opioid usage reduction, Cigna collaborated with various stakeholders to identify approaches that increased prescribing safeguards, counseling options, and access to substance use disorder treatment. Among its other initiatives, Cigna has worked with 85,000 prescribers whose patients have exhibited concerning opioid prescription use patterns and launched a free counseling helpline for veterans and their caregivers.

The 25% reduction benchmark was chosen as the target because it would translate to usage levels seen prior to the opioid crisis. The company measured the total volume of opioids being prescribed based on morphine milligram equivalent doses, factoring in the number of pills, dosing and the relative strength of various medications.

Next steps

To continue its efforts at reducing opioid use, Cigna announced three initiatives:

  • Expansion of predictive analytics to identify patients most at risk;
  • Institution of additional measures to minimize the risk, including limits on prescription durations and daily dosing; and
  • Initiating consumer education campaigns on pain management techniques.


The National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, clinicians, treatment providers, counselors, educators, state and national leaders, and advocates impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

April 2-5, 2018 | Atlanta, GA