Walmart Takes Further Opioid Action

Walmart is beefing up its policies to curb opioid misuse and abuse nationwide

Building on its introduction earlier this year of a free opioid disposal solution in all of its pharmacies nationwide, Walmart Inc. is introducing additional policies, programs and tools in all Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in the United States and Puerto Rico, with the goal of curbing opioid misuse and abuse.

“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic,” affirmed Marybeth Hays, EVP of health and wellness and consumables, Walmart U.S. “We are proud to implement these policies and initiatives as we work to create solutions that address this critical issue facing the patients and communities we serve.”

Within the next 60 days, Walmart and Sam’s Club will restrict initial acute opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply, with up to a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day. This policy is in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for opioid use. Where state law for fills on new acute opioid prescriptions is under seven days, Walmart and Sam’s Club will follow state law.

Further, as of Jan. 1, 2020, Walmart and Sam’s Club will require e-prescriptions for controlled substances. According to the mega-retailer, e-prescriptions are less prone to errors, as they can’t be altered or copied, and are electronically trackable.

Additionally, by the end of August 2018, Walmart plans to have in place the following initiatives:

  • In states allowing access, the company’s pharmacists will have access to and use the controlled-substance tracking tool, which helps pharmacists make dispensing decisions and provides real-time interstate visibility.
  • The opioid-reversal medication naloxone will behind the pharmacy counters of its stores and clubs, dispensing naloxone upon request, where allowed by state law. Also, pharmacists will recommend naloxone for patients who might be at risk for overdose, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • The company will conduct more training and education on opioid stewardship for pharmacistsincluding a pain management curriculum, following steps implemented as part of the Walmart Opioid Stewardship Initiative. 

Walmart will also continue to sponsor youth-based curriculums on the risks associated with prescription drug abuse, among them Prescription for Life with EverFi.

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