#1 Walmart announces limits to some opioid prescription fills
Walmart opened the week with a Monday announcement that it would limit filling initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain to seven days. This mandate will be effective across Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies and will be implemented within the next sixty days. Walmart will also require that the medications do not exceed a 50 morphine milligram equivalent per day. Some states already have restrictions for issuing less than a week’s supply of these medications and Walmart and Sam’s Club will adhere to those state-by-state regulations.
“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 U.S. in a statement released on May 07, 2018. “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.”
To read the full statement, click here: Walmart and Sam’s Club to restrict opioid fill limit up to seven days nationwide; require e-prescriptions for opioids by 2020
Last September, CVS Health said that it would limit opioid dispensing to a seven-day supply for certain acute prescriptions. To read their full statement, click here: CVS Health Responds to Nation’s Opioid Crisis
#2 First Lady Melania Trump makes opioid abuse a pillar in her Be Best platform for children
On May 7, Mrs. Trump launched BE BEST—an awareness campaign focused entirely around the well-being of children. The campaign has three pillars, which represent key areas of concern for Mrs. Trump: well-being, which includes the social and emotional health of children; social media, and understanding both the positive and negative effects it has on our children; and opioid abuse, and how to protect our most vulnerable from the effects of drug abuse while educating parents about the detrimental effects of opioids.
#3 Distributors testify before Congress on role in opioid crisis in West Virginia
Executive leaders from Cardinal Health, Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corporation, McKesson Corporation, Miami-Luken, Inc., and H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee for oversight and investigations in relation to opioid crisis in West Virginia. Documents and the preliminary transcript are available here: Combating the Opioid Epidemic: Examining Concerns About Distribution and Diversion.
Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson are the three largest drug distributors in the US. Together, they account for almost 85 percent of all prescription drug shipments in the country.
Committee investigators found the following: click here for more information
- The Family Discount Pharmacy in Mount Gay-Shamrock, a town in southern West Virginia with a 2010 census of 1,779 residents, received the following opioid shipments.
- Cardinal Health shipped more than 6.5 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills between 2008 and 2012.
- McKesson shipped 5.8 million pills from 2006 to 2014.
- Other pharmacies shipped 4.3 million doses of prescription opioids for a total of about 16.6 million by 2016.
- Williamson, WV, a town of 3,191 on the Kentucky border about 30 miles from Mount Gay-Shamrock, received “approximately 1,565 hydrocodone and oxydocone pills for every man, woman and child” from Miami-Luken in 2007 and 2008, according to a letter sent by the committee.
- Overall, Miami-Luken shipped 20 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone to West Virginia pharmacies from 2007 to 2012.