Walmart to severely restrict opioid prescriptions
Walmart will restrict opioid prescriptions to no more than a seven-day supply as the retailer looks to help curb the American opioid epidemic.
The retailer is introducing new policies, programs and tools aimed at curbing opioid misuse and abuse. These initiatives apply to all Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies and pharmacists in the United States and Puerto Rico.
“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic,” said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Health & Wellness and Consumables, Walmart U.S. “We are proud to implement these policies and initiatives as we work to create solutions that address this critical issue facing the patients and communities we serve.”
Within the next 60 days, Walmart and Sam’s Club will restrict initial acute opioid prescriptions to no more than a seven-day supply, with up to a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day. This policy is in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for opioid use. Where state law for fills on new acute opioid prescriptions is less than seven days, Walmart and Sam’s Club will follow state law.
Additionally, as of Jan. 1, 2020, Walmart and Sam’s Club will require e-prescriptions for controlled substances. E-prescriptions are proven to be less prone to errors, they cannot be altered or copied and are electronically trackable.
Further, by the end of August:
- In states that allow access, the company’s pharmacists will have access to and use the controlled substance tracking tool, NarxCare. NarxCare is a tool that helps pharmacists make dispensing decisions and provides pharmacists with the real-time interstate visibility that currently exists.
- Walmart and Sam’s Club are committed to having the opioid reversal medication naloxone behind the pharmacy counters of its stores and clubs and dispensing naloxone upon request, where allowed by state law. As an additional step, the company is reinforcing that its pharmacists provide naloxone recommendations for patients who might be at risk for overdose in alignment with CDC guidelines.
- The company will conduct additional training and education on opioid stewardship for its pharmacists, including a pain management curriculum.
These steps are in addition to actions the company has taken as part of the Walmart Opioid Stewardship Initiative in an effort to be part of the solution to our nation’s opioid epidemic. Among others, these actions include:
Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy patients filling any new Class II opioid prescription receive a free DisposeRx packet and opioid safety information brochure when picking up their prescription. DisposeRx provides a virtually effortless way for patients to destroy leftover opioids without ever leaving home. Patients with chronic Class II opioid prescriptions are offered a free DisposeRx packet every six months. Existing pharmacy patients can request a free DisposeRx packet at any time.
The company’s pharmacists counsel patients using the CDC’s guidelines on pain management, focusing on using the lowest effective dose for pain management for the shortest time possible.
The company believes education on prescription drug abuse is a key part of the solution. Walmart U.S. helps sponsor youth-based curriculums on the risks associated with prescription drug abuse, including Prescription for Life with EverFi. These programs are educational tools that empower students with information and skills to address the opioid epidemic, should they face it in their community.
Walmart Inc. has more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites.