Retailer first national pharmacy chain to offer free opioid disposal solution at all pharmacy locations
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – January 17, 2018 – In an effort to help curb abuse and misuse, Walmart is launching a first-of-its kind opioid disposal solution – available at no cost – in all company pharmacies.* Known as DisposeRx, the small packet contains ingredients that, according to the manufacturer, when emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, ultimately enable patients to responsibly dispose of leftover medications in their trash.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 65 percent of people misusing prescription opioids are getting them from family and friends, and personal prescriptions are one of the main sources of nonmedical opioid abuse. DisposeRx provides a virtually effortless way for patients to destroy leftover opioids and a way to do so without ever leaving home.
The innovative disposal solution will now be provided in addition to ongoing counseling available to Walmart patients on proper opioid use when filling an opioid prescription at any one of its 4,700 pharmacies nationwide. Now, pharmacists can also counsel patients on how to use DisposeRx and distribute an opioid awareness brochure outlining risks and helpful resources.
“The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority; that’s why we’re taking an active role in fighting our nation’s opioid issue – an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America,” said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S. “While this issue requires many resources to solve, we are confident this unique, easy-to-use disposal solution, DisposeRx, will make a meaningful impact on the lives of many. Walmart is incredibly proud to fund this initiative that provides our patients with an opioid disposal solution they can access nationwide, at no cost.”
According to DisposeRx, packets contain a crosslinking polymer blend that, when added to the pill bottle with warm water, sequester any form of prescription drugs – including powders, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches – into a non-divertible and biodegradable gel. The chemicals in the packet are listed as safe by the FDA.
Beginning immediately, patients filling any new Class II opioid prescription at Walmart pharmacies will receive a free DisposeRx packet and opioid safety information brochure when picking up their prescription. Patients with chronic Class II opioid prescriptions will be offered a free DisposeRx packet every six months. Existing pharmacy patients can also request a free DisposeRx packet at any time, including at the upcoming Walmart Wellness Day event on January 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time at all Walmart locations nationwide. Additionally, Sam’s Club patients can access Dispose Rx at their pharmacies.
“About one-third of medications sold go unused. Too often, these dangerous narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access. I commend Walmart for taking this innovative approach to help keep unused prescription drugs out of the wrong hands,” said Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
The launch of DisposeRx in Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies is one of several ways the retailers are helping to address the prescription drug abuse problem. The company urges lawmakers to establish a seven-day supply limit for initial prescriptions issued for acute pain and to require all controlled substance prescriptions be issued electronically, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration. It stocks Naloxone in its pharmacies and will offer Naloxone behind its pharmacy counters for sale or for dispensing by a pharmacist by the end of this month in all states where pharmacy practice laws support its ability to do so. The company also believes education on prescription drug abuse is a key part of the solution and is helping to fund a variety of multi-state programs that teach youth about the dangers of prescription drug use and abuse.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. The company’s legal name will become Walmart Inc., effective on Feb. 1, 2018, to reflect its growing status as an omni-channel retailer. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our more than 11,600 stores under nearly 60 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.
*Walmart patients in Rhode Island and Washington will receive an alternative free disposal solution until third-party testing of DisposeRx is complete in those states.