WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee Inc. has begun dispensing opioid overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription in four of the eight states where it has pharmacies.
Hy-Vee said its pharmacy locations in Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin will provide no-prescription access to naloxone. The medication is available at Hy-Vee pharmacies in nasal spray, as well as injection by request.
In South Dakota and Missouri, pharmacists can dispense naloxone without a prescription through a physician-signed protocol with a designated pharmacy or pharmacy chain, according to Hy-Vee. The food and drug chain said the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and the Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board have enacted administrative rules on naloxone procedures and training requirements for pharmacies.
Previously, the only way for people to obtain naloxone in these states was by getting prescription from a doctor or other health care provider, followed by a trip to the pharmacy for the drug, Hy-Vee noted.
“We know the availability of this medication has the potential to save lives,” Kristin Williams, senior vice president and chief health officer at Hy-Vee, said in a statement. “It’s vital that we do everything we can to assist those with a loved one who may encounter an opioid overdose by combining medications or by accidentally taking too much of a medication, being unaware of the life-threatening result.”
Hy-Vee added that its pharmacists will also instruct patients and their family members on how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and how to administer naloxone, which can be given to any person who has overdosed on a wide range of opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine, as well as heroin.
Overall, Hy-Vee operates more than 250 retail stores, including supermarket pharmacies and freestanding drug stores, in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.