As part of its “comprehensive national plan to combat drug abuse”, Walgreens is now stocking Narcan (Nalaxone), an FDA-approved nasal spray that helps reverse opioid overdoses, in all of its more than 8,000 pharmacies nationwide.
“By stocking Narcan in all our pharmacies, we are making it easier for families and caregivers to help their loved ones by having it on hand in case it is needed,” Rick Gates, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy, said in a press release. “As a pharmacy we are committed to making Narcan more accessible in the communities we serve.”
In addition, Walgreens is adopting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations by educating patients about Narcan when they are dispensed a controlled substance greater than 50 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) and may be at risk of accidental overdose.
“This action is an important milestone and we applaud Walgreens initiatives to improve access to Narcan Nasal Spray in communities across the U.S.,” said Seamus Mulligan, Chief Executive Officer of Adapt Pharma, the manufacturer of Narcan Nasal Spray. “This effort, combined with the opportunity for patients and caregivers to obtain Narcan Nasal Spray without an individual prescription in 45 states, is critical in combating this crisis.”
In an effort to educate the public on use of naloxone, pharmaceutical wholesaler AmerisourceBergen has distributed Narcan demo devices at no cost to Walgreens pharmacists for use in instructing patients on how to administer the medication. Additional instructions include calling 911, as Narcan is not a substitute for medical care. Anyone who is administered the medication should seek immediate medical attention.
“At AmerisourceBergen, we strive to provide our customers the highest quality care and support so they can ultimately enhance the lives of patients in their communities,” said Robert Mauch, Executive Vice President & Group President, Pharmaceutical Distribution & Strategic Global Sourcing for AmerisourceBergen. “We recognize the important role we play in addressing the opioid epidemic, and our collaboration with Walgreens is another key milestone to supply our customers with access to lifesaving initiatives and emergency medications that can help keep individuals safe across the country.”
Last year Walgreens announced an effort to make naloxone available without requiring a prescription in states where regulations allow. The company now offers naloxone without requiring a prescription in 45 states and is eager and willing to work with the remaining states to make naloxone easier to obtain.
Walgreens has also collected more than 155 tons of unwanted medications through its safe medication disposal kiosks in 600 pharmacies across 45 states and Washington D.C. The kiosks allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of unwanted prescriptions, including controlled substances and over-the-counter medications, year-round at no cost.