On Monday Walmart pharmacies announced that they will soon limit the supply of first-time opioid prescription purchasers will be limited to seven days. This is an effort to clamp down on the epidemic that is killing more people per year than car crashes.
This new rule will start off within 60 days. More and more states and entities in the healthcare industry has placed limits and restrictions on opioid prescriptions.
“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic. 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,” Marybeth Hays, the VP of health and wellness consumables for Walmart, said in a statement.
In addition, Walmart pharmacies will limit the dosage to a maximum of 50 morphine milligram equivalents per day. By January 1, 2020 e-prescriptions will be required for controlled substances.
Per The Hill:
Opioid limits have garnered support from various stakeholders, and a bill in the Senate would restrict initial prescriptions for acute pain to three days. But not everyone is on board.
The American Medical Association (AMA), a powerful group of physicians, has argued that the limits are arbitrary and hurt a doctor’s ability to individualize care for each patient.
The AMA “supports and encourages judicious prescribing of opioids,” Dr. Patrice Harris, chairwoman of the association’s opioid task force, told The Hill last month. But the AMA has “grave concerns” about limits on both dosage and supply.
“Pain is a complex, biopsychosocial phenomenon, and individuals experience pain in different ways,” Harris said at the time. “The AMA believes that decisions around dosages needs to be left between the patient and the physician.”
Supporters of the proposal have countered that such limits are important to stem overprescribing, lower the amount of painkillers available to be illegally diverted and decrease the potential for addiction.
President Trump has said several times that the opioid epidemic is very serious and is something that needs to be taken head on. He delivered this speech to address the national opioid addiction crisis:
It is good to see action being taken. Whether this makes a difference or not, steps need to be taken in an attempt to stop this horrible epidemic.
The reactions on Twitter were a mixed bag. Many commended Walmart for taking steps to stop this epidemic, others were angry that Walmart is denying pain medications to people who need them.
PAINKILLER CRACKDOWN: @Walmart pharmacies will soon only give one week’s worth of prescription #opioids in an effort to curb addictions and deaths #health #heroin #addiction @CBNNews pic.twitter.com/Ec2LmZrA7z
— Lorie Johnson (@LorieCBN) May 8, 2018
Walmart pharmacies limit amounts of pain meds to one week. I’ll bet if one of the Waltons had a debilitating disease, they’d care about the comfort of their customers. #plentyofpharmacies
— Shar Johnson (@Realdammshar) May 8, 2018
Sam’s Club and Walmart announced that their pharmacies would provide only a 7-day supply of opioid medications to some customers in an attempt to stymie the nationwide opioid crisis. https://t.co/8BR78GetS2
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) May 8, 2018
This is cruel for people in pain. A person getting out of the hospital after surgery has trouble with the logistics of getting to a Pharmacy. Now Walmart is going to make them them do it every week as opposed to just dealing with it when they get out of the hospital.
— ProfessingProf (@Professing_Prof) May 8, 2018
WTF? Pain killers prescribed by doctors, and WalMart is going to limit filling them? Thank God there are other pharmacies. They have no right to do that to the doctor-patient relationship and to people in pain. Shame. https://t.co/nk88jPsWrE
— trumparmy (@trumparmymo) May 8, 2018