Walmart tighten its opioid prescription policies

Walmart Inc. has more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites

Walmart Inc. has more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites

Walmart and Sam's Club's pharmacies will limit some customers to a seven-day supply of opioids, as the retail giant moves to help stem the epidemic that kills more than 100 Americans a day.

Additionally, from January 20 20, Walmart pharmacies may require e-prescriptions for controlled substances, as they have "recognized to become prone to errors, they can not be changed or copied and so are trackable".

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., shared his support of the announcement Monday in a release.

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The new restrictions follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

All Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies and pharmacists in the United States and Puerto Rico will be putting the new policies in place.

Walmart and Sams 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. It will also use NarxCare, and it will require e-prescriptions by 2020.

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"The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority; that's why we're taking an active role in fighting our nation's opioid issue - an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America", said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S.

In January, the company introduced a way to safely destroy leftover opioids at home. They should therefore prescribe "no greater quantity than needed", which is often "three days or less" but "more than seven days will rarely be needed".

The CDC said in March that more than 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2016, and that almost two-thirds of those overdoses involved either a prescription or illegal opioid, like heroin and fentanyl. Now, pharmacists can also counsel patients on how to use DisposeRx and distribute an opioid awareness brochure outlining risks and helpful resources.

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The companys pharmacists counsel patients using the CDCs guidelines on pain management, focusing on using the lowest effective dose for pain management for the shortest time possible. Patients with chronic Class II opioid prescriptions will receive the packet every six months.

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