Walmart tightens its opioid prescription policies

Walmart is making its opioid policy more strict, limiting the duration of such prescriptions and requiring that they ...

Posted: May 8, 2018 1:42 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 1:42 PM

Walmart is making its opioid policy more strict, limiting the duration of such prescriptions and requiring that they be filled electronically.

The company announced on Monday that within 60 days, it will only fill first-time acute opioid prescriptions for seven days or less nationwide, and it will limit the dosage to 50 morphine milligram equivalents, or MMEs, per day. The CDC publishes MME conversion guides to help pharmacists figure out the right dosage for each type of prescribed opioid.

There are more than 5,300 Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the United States.

The new restrictions follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CDC study found that people who were prescribed at least one day of opioid therapy had a 6% chance of being addicted a year later - but for those prescribed eight or more days of treatment saw that chance spiked to 13.5%. The CDC also notes that patients who are prescribed higher dosages are more likely to die from an overdose.

Some states already limit prescriptions to seven days or fewer. Walmart will go by state law when the cap is lower than one week.

Walmart also said that starting in 2020, it will require e-prescriptions for controlled substances. The company explained that online prescriptions will help prevent prescription fraud and minimize error.

Related: The opioid crisis is draining America's workforce

The new measures are an extension of Walmart's efforts to fight the US opioid epidemic.

In January, the company introduced a way to safely destroy leftover opioids at home. DisposeRx is a powder that, when combined with water and the pills, creates a gel that is difficult to remove from its container. The mixture can be thrown out at home or left at a drop off location. The company said on Monday that it will make DisposeRx available online.

Plus, Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacists will continue to recommend the overdose reversal drug naloxone, which is available over the counter in some states, to customers who may be at risk of an overdose. They will complete a pain management curriculum by the end of August.

Other companies are making similar efforts to help fight the epidemic.

Aetna started waiving co-pays for the anti-overdose drug Narcan, a branded version of the naloxone nasal spray, and limiting first-time opioid prescriptions to seven days in January. And CVS Caremark, the prescription benefit manager for CVS Health, began capping first-time prescriptions at seven days in February.

Purdue Pharma, which makes the opioid OxyContin, said in February that it will stop promoting the addictive painkiller to doctors.

The CDC said in March that more than 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2016, and that nearly two-thirds of those overdoses involved either a prescription or illegal opioid, like heroin and fentanyl.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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