Walmart embraces EPCS: Retail Giant Will Soon Accept Only Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances

Dan Borgasano
May 21, 2018

Walmart recently expanded its Opioid Stewardship Initiative, introducing additional measures designed to help curb opioid abuse and misuse. These expanded protections include: the announcement that soon the retail giant will only accept e-prescriptions for controlled substances (EPCS).

Beginning on January 1, 2020, Walmart – one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains – will require EPCS in all of its pharmacies. In its recent announcement, Walmart stated that "E-prescriptions are proven to be less prone to errors, they cannot be altered or copied and are electronically trackable."

This comes on the heels of a March announcement by McKesson, one of the nation's largest opioid distribution companies, highlighting several initiatives to help curb the opiate abuse epidemic. These efforts include McKesson’s decision to cease selling opioids to customers (with some exceptions) who cannot accept e-prescribing of controlled substances.

The embrace of EPCS by corporate giants like Walmart and McKesson reflects a broader national trend supporting e-prescribing as a way to battle the nation’s opioid epidemic. And it’s not just in the private sector: Currently, nine states (NY, ME, CT, AZ, NC, RI, IA, OK, and VA) have passed legislation containing electronic prescribing mandates for controlled substances, and an additional 12 states (CA, CO, GA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MI, MO, NJ, PA, and TN) have similar legislation under active consideration.

As a trusted solutions provider, Imprivata can help organizations understand the EPCS requirements and implement a complete, end-to-end solution that satisfies the DEA regulations while delivering a fast, secure workflow for prescribers.

For more information, “A Quick Guide to EPCS,” outlines the process that care providers should take to properly adopt EPCS into their workflows and what roles must be defined to achieve a successful roll-out.