Walmart will stop providing initial acute opioid prescriptions that last for more than a week. The move is one of the strongest by a retailer in a bid to curb the opioid epidemic that has plagued the United States.
The supply limit will begin within the next 60 days, the company said.
In January, Walmart said it would provide its customers filling prescriptions for opioids with a packet of powder that would help them dispose of leftover medication.
Staff will also be trained in the dangers of over-prescription and alternative pain management methods.
The move is one of the strongest by a retailer in a bid to curb the opioid epidemic that has plagued the United States. The supply limit will begin within the next 60 days, Walmart said
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
The company also said on Monday that from January 1, 2020 it would require e-prescriptions for controlled substances.
These prescriptions are proven to be less prone to errors and cannot be altered or copied.
The initiatives apply to all the pharmacies of Walmart and its Sam’s Club unit in the United States and Puerto Rico.
‘We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic,’ said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Health Wellness and Consumables, Walmart US.
‘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.’
The move has been hailed as a step in the right direction to curb addiction.
However, Patrice Harris, chair of the American Medical Association’s opioid unit, said medical professionals have concerns about blanket restrictions on prescriptions.
‘Pain is a complex, biopsychosocial phenomenon, and individuals experience pain in different ways,’ Harris told The Hill last month.
‘The AMA believes that decisions around dosages needs to be left between the patient and the physician.’