Cigna opts out of covering OcyContin in 2018

A common fact mentioned alongside the U.S. opioid crisis is the astronomical number of prescriptions per county or per state. Cigna, one of the largest health insurers in the U.S., will no longer cover many OxyContin prescriptions in 2018—a clear effort to control the misuse and abuse of opioids.

"Our focus is on helping customers get the most value from their medications—this means obtaining effective pain relief while also guarding against opioid misuse," Cigna Chief Pharmacy Officer Jon Maesner said in a statement.

The insurer's move has been met with resistance by drug makers, including Purdue Pharma, who produces OxyContin.

"Cigna's decision limits the tools prescribers can use to help address the opioid crisis as both products are formulated with properties designed to deter abuse. Unfortunately, this decision appears to be more about pharmaceutical rebates," according to a Purdue statement.