Walmart on Wednesday announced a partnership with DisposeRx to launch free opioid disposal kits at its 4,700 Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. pharmacies in an effort to curb abuse and misuse, according to a company press release.
DisposeRX is the manufacturer of a pack of ingredients that when emptied into a pill bottle and mixed with warm water enables the responsible disposal of leftover medications.
The product is intended particularly for opioids, but works on other drugs and for a variety of methods (including pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches), according to DisposeRx.
In Walmart's press release Wednesday, the retailer noted accolades on the move from members of Congress, like senator John Boozman (R-AR), who commended Walmart's "innovative approach."
"About one-third of medications sold go unused," he said in a statement. "Too often, these dangerous narcotics remain unsecured where children, teens or visitors may have access."
Walmart is providing the DisposeRx solution in nearly five thousand pharmacies — at a time when Amazon is getting attention for a rumor that it may have received regulatory approval from about a dozen states to do business as a pharmacy wholesale distributor.
Walmart’s immense, well established reach makes this move significant, and means that "proper drug disposal is a fundamental way Walmart can help," according to Marybeth Hays, Walmart U.S. executive vice president, Consumables, Health and Wellness.
"The opioid epidemic is as serious of a drug crisis as America’s ever seen," Hays, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. "It’s so deep-reaching that nearly every community has felt its effects. And while prescription pain medications are an appropriate treatment option for some, the reality is that unchecked supplies in the public pose a significant health concern. Just as prescription drugs should be prescribed carefully, they must be stored and disposed of carefully."