Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Walmart to limit opioid prescriptions at pharmacies

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Lori Graves | 09 May, 2018, 09:22

The CDC says that prescriptions for acute pain should be targeted in the fight against the opioid epidemic because "long-term opioid use often begins with treatment of acute pain".

All Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies in the US and Puerto Rico will fill new acute opioid prescriptions with no more than a seven-day supply, and will cap the daily dosage at 50 morphine milligram equivalents, the retail giant said in a statement on Monday.

Doctors and pharmacies are strengthening opioid policies following a suggestion to do so by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016.

But by 2020, Walmart and Sam's Club will require e-prescriptions for all controlled substances. Along with reducing the risk of errors, e-prescriptions can not be altered or copied and are electronically trackable, according to the company.

The initiatives apply to all the pharmacies of Walmart and its Sam's Club unit in the United States and Puerto Rico. Walmart and Sam's Club already make the opioid reversal antidote available at their in-store pharmacies and dispense it on request, where allowed by state law. Several other companies have also been making similar efforts to help mitigate the opioid epidemic.

Walmart to limit opioid prescriptions to 7-day supply
Pharmacists also will undergo a pain management curriculum , using the CDC's guidelines on pain management to counsel patients. The dosage for opioid prescriptions will be restricted to the equivalent of 50 morphine milligrams per day, the store said .

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The modernized pharmacy guidelines come four months after Walmart said it would provide clients who were advised opioid prescriptions per packet of powder to dispose of extra medication.

Walmart said it also plans to conduct additional training and education on opioid stewardship for its pharmacists, including a pain management curriculum.

The largest retailer in the country is taking action to curb abuse of prescription painkillers by limiting patients to a seven day supply of opioids. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide.

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