Walmart agrees to continue accepting paper prescriptions

Walmart will continue to accept paper prescriptions for controlled substances after the American Medical Association warned an electronic prescription-only policy could hurt patients' access to critical drugs, Walmart officials told USA Today

In an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths, Walmart announced earlier this year that it would transition to an electronic prescription-only policy in 2020. The company said it hoped to reduce fraud and keep patients from getting multiple prescriptions for the same drug.

But in late November, the AMA sent a letter warning Walmart that such a policy could stop many patients from receiving their prescriptions. About 44 percent of physicians don't have the technology hardware and certifications required to give electronic prescriptions. 

"We recognize not all provider networks and prescribers will have the technology and systems in place to accommodate this requirement, so we will continue to take written prescriptions so patients are not unintentionally negatively affected by this process,"  a Walmart spokesperson told USA Today

Paul Uhrig, chief administrative, legal and privacy officer for Surescripts, told USA Today that about 96 percent of pharmacies can take electronic prescriptions, but only about 45 percent of prescribers can give them. 

Walmart did not say when it would stop accepting paper prescriptions. 

"The AMA welcomes Walmart’s decision to delay implementation of an electronic prescribing mandate that would have resulted in harm to millions of Americans, including many in rural areas who rely on Walmart as the only pharmacy in reasonable distance," AMA President Patrice Harris, MD, told USA Today.

Read the full article here

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