Walgreens said Tuesday it’s adopting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations by educating patients about Narcan Nasal Spray when they are dispensed a controlled substance greater than 50 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) and may be at risk of an accidental overdose.
Naloxone, used to reverse the effects of an overdose of opioid drugs, including some prescription painkillers and heroin, also can be administered by injection.
“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, group vice president of pharmacy at Walgreens, said in a statement. “As a pharmacy, we are committed to making Narcan more accessible in the communities we serve.”
AmerisourceBergen Corp. has distributed Narcan Nasal Spray demo devices at no cost to Walgreens pharmacists to use in instructing patients on how to administer the medication. Additional instructions include calling 911, since anyone who is administered Narcan should seek immediate medical attention, Walgreens noted.
“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,” stated Robert Mauch, executive vice president and group president of pharmaceutical distribution and strategic global sourcing at AmerisourceBergen.
In February 2016, Walgreens unveiled plans to provide naloxone without a prescription in states where regulations permit. The drug chain said it now offers no-prescription naloxone in 45 states and aims to work with the remaining states to make naloxone easier to obtain.
“This action is an important milestone, and we applaud Walgreens initiatives to improve access to Narcan Nasal Spray in communities across the U.S.,” commented 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.”