Walmart, the third-largest pharmacy in the U.S., wants to give people who receive prescriptions that are frequently misused a safe way to get rid of them for free.
The company says the product, which is called Dispose-RX, provides a safe and effective way to get rid of unused opioid medication. To do that, fill the canister the prescription came in 2/3 full with water with the prescription inside, then add the packet of powder.
Effective immediately, any patients filling out a prescription for a Class II opioid such as methadone or oxycodone will be given a complimentary packet of DisposeRX and opioid safety information brochure. 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.
DisposeRx says its disposal packets also work on other prescription drugs and for pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches.
"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 USA, said in an interview. The company also will offer a packet every six months to patients with a regular opioid prescription.
Misuse of prescription opioids is a contributing factor to the opioid crisis in the USA, with more than 50% of people who abuse prescription opioids obtaining them through friends and family. "Too frequently, those harmful narcotics stay un-secured where children, visitors or teens may have access", Arkansas Senator John Boozman said in an announcement.
"While [our nation's opioid] 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", said Marybeth Hays, executive vice president of Consumables and Health and Wellness at Walmart U.S.
Walmart is not alone in trying to address the opioid epidemic. "I commend Walmart for taking this innovative approach to help keep unused prescription drugs out of the wrong hands".