This policy is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and helps reduce excess pills that can be vulnerable for diversion. It also reduces the likelihood that patients will become longtime opioid users while not preventing those who have chronic, long-term conditions, or are suffering from diseases such as cancer, from receiving the medications they need. As part of the implementation of this policy, Walmart sent more than 400,000 letters to prescribers across the country providing education on the CDC guidelines.
To reduce the risk of death by overdose, Walmart and Sam’s Club also committed to have the overdose medication naloxone behind the pharmacy counters of our stores and clubs and to dispense the drug upon request, where allowed by state law. Through our training program, we reinforce that pharmacists provide naloxone recommendations for patients who might be at risk of overdose, in alignment with CDC guidelines.
As an additional safety measure, Walmart offers an at-home opioid disposal product, DisposeRx, at no cost in all pharmacies nationwide. Patients filling any new opioid prescription at Walmart receive a free DisposeRx packet, and patients with chronic prescriptions are offered a free packet every six months. Existing Walmart pharmacy patients can also receive a free DisposeRx packet at any time on request.
Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists also have access to and use the controlled substance tracking tool NarxCare in states that allow access. Our pharmacists are trained to check for indicators of potential concern before filling each prescription. NarxCare, along with other tools, helps our pharmacists make better dispensing decisions.
Walmart and Sam’s Club announced a plan to move to electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) for controlled substances by 2020. In response, many in the healthcare provider community expressed strong concern that patients who rely on controlled substances to manage mental health, debilitating pain, and other conditions would not receive needed medications because not all provider networks and prescribers will have the technology and systems in place to accommodate this requirement. We have been working collaboratively with prescribers to encourage their use of e-prescribing for controlled substances so that patients are not unintentionally negatively affected by this process. E-prescribing has the potential to reduce errors, misuse, abuse and diversion of prescription medications.