Walmart Pharmacies Set to Restrict Opioid Prescriptions

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.

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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.

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