Walmart tightens its opioid prescription policies

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 115 Americans die on average every day from an opioid overdose

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 115 Americans die on average every day from an opioid overdose

Walmart Inc. announced plans to restrict initial acute opioid prescriptions to a maximum 7-day supply, with up to 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day.

The Walmart logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 1, 2018.

The new policies align together with all the facilities for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations which imply "3 times or less will probably often be adequate" for people prescribed the painkillers, also "more than seven weeks will likely rarely be needed".

Walmart intends to roll-out newer restrictions on opioid prescriptions in the summertime, while also announcing that they will require e-prescriptions come 2020.

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

Walmart said it is imposing the seven-day limit and taking related steps "to continue to be part of the solution to our nation's opioid epidemic".

Walmart's policy follows a similar initiative introduced by CVS last September to limit opioid prescriptions for new patients to a seven-day supply. It stocks Naloxone in its pharmacies and will offer Naloxone behind its pharmacy counters for sale or for dispensing by a pharmacist by the end of this month in all states where pharmacy practice laws support its ability to do so.

Additional training and education on opioid stewardship for pharmacists, including a pain management curriculum. "Walmart is incredibly proud to fund this initiative that provides our patients with an opioid disposal solution they can access nationwide, at no cost". The e-prescriptions are deemed to minimize error and prevent prescription frauds. The CDC publishes MME conversion guides to help pharmacists figure out the right dosage for each type of prescribed opioid.

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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