Walmart to alter opioid prescription policies at its pharmacies

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Earlier this year, the company announced free opioid medication disposal in all its USA pharmacies.

Representatives for Walmart announced Monday that within the next 60 days, they will institute a one week limit for most prescription opioid medication at all Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies.

Doctors and pharmacies are strengthening opioid policies following a suggestion to do so by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016. In states where the law for fills is less than seven days, Walmart and Sam's Club will abide by this lower limit.

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".

The company expects online prescriptions to help prevent fraud and minimize error.

Also, by August 2018, Walmart and Sam's Club's pharmacists will have access to a controlled substance tracking tool called NarxCare.

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The opioid-reversal medication naloxone will behind the pharmacy counters of its stores and clubs, dispensing naloxone upon request, where allowed by state law. Now, pharmacists can also counsel patients on how to use DisposeRx and distribute an opioid awareness brochure outlining risks and helpful resources.

Florida and several other states have passed similar measures to limit patients' supply of opioids in an effort to reduce the risk of addiction and misuse.

It is unclear how Walmart's policy will be enforced, as it does not appear to apply to people seeking treatment for chronic pain or people who have already been prescribed opioids in the past.

"The company believes education on prescription drug abuse is a key part of the solution", Walmart said.

With that in mind, Walmart also provides a way for customers to safely destroy unused opioids by issuing packets of DisposeRx, a powder that when mixed with water forms a gel around the pills, making them impossible to take.

The Bentonville, Ark. -based company operates more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries, as well as ecommerce websites.

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