18 January, 2018
Customers filling a new class II opioid prescription at any of Wal-Mart's 4,700 U.S. pharmacies will now receive a packet of DisposeRx, a powder that - when mixed into a pill bottle with warm water - creates a safe, biodegradable gel, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
DisposeRx packets have a polymer blend that when combined with warm water in the pill bottle sequesters any type of prescription drug, whether a powder, pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches, into a biodegradable gel.
Walmart patients filling a new Class II opioid prescription will now be given a free DisposeRx packet along with counseling on proper opioid use and safety. A few months ago, CVS Health, (cvs) the largest dispenser of drug prescriptions in the country ($61 billion worth in 2016) said it would limit the prescription of opioids for some conditions to seven days, a move Walmart has also advocated.
Repeated tests have been unable to extract opioids from the resultant solid after the powder is mixed with the drugs, DisposeRX's CEO John Holaday said.
"The best part is that patients don't have to take the drugs back to a location", Marybeth Hays, Wal-Mart's head of consumables and health and wellness in the US, said in an interview. Patients who fill Class II opioid prescriptions on an ongoing basis will receive one complimentary packet every six months. DisposeRX packets also are being given away free at Sam's Club pharmacies. "Walmart is incredibly proud to fund this initiative that provides our patients with an opioid disposal solution they can access nationwide, at no cost".
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Walmart's offer of free DisposeRX is just the latest in a series of efforts by pharmacies to reduce the risk that opioids will be diverted from their appropriate use as painkillers and abused by either the original customer or another person.
More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, with most of those deaths related to prescription opioids or illegal opioids such as heroin.
In the Walmart release, Sen.
Walmart is not alone in trying to address the opioid epidemic.
"About one-third of medications sold go unused".