Initial opioid prescriptions to be restricted, lessened

Simon Moss
May 9, 2018

This policy is in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) guidelines for opioid use.

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.

The retail giant announced Monday that it will begin limiting supplies of acute opioid prescriptions to no more than seven days, with up to a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day.

The company said in a press release that the new policies are aimed at curbing opioid misuse and abuse. For states that now limit new acute opioid prescription fills to 7 days, Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies will follow that state law.

Walmart and Sam's Club stores will also require e-prescriptions for controlled substances starting January 1, 2020, because they're less likely to be altered and copied, and they're easier to track. The company noted the electronic prescriptions can not be copied or altered and are less prone to errors. In addition, where allowed by state law, pharmacies will have naloxone behind the counter and ready to dispense upon request. As a result, Walmart will implement new opioid training for its expansive roster of pharmacists.

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The change will come into effect within the next 60 days, and will apply to all Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies in the USA and Puerto Rico.

They'll also limit the strength of the opioids they provide.

Florida's law, which was passed this year as part of a larger bill, puts a three-day limit on opioids prescribed for patients with acute pain.

The company said the curriculum will help pharmacists focus on using the lowest effective dose for pain management for the shortest time possible. The CDC publishes MME conversion guides to help pharmacists figure out the right dosage for each type of prescribed opioid. But unlike Walmart's NarxCare, the prescription drug monitoring programs are limited to the boundaries of each state. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our more than 11,600 stores under almost 60 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites.

What Other Pharmacies Will Follow Walmart's Lead?

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