Hy-Vee pharmacies implement new opioid prescription policy

Drug takeback boxes coming to all 276 locations

Hy-Vee pharmacies will limit opioid prescriptions for treatment of acute pain to seven days starting Thursday, according to a news release.

Hy-Vee Grocery Stores said ​​​​​​the new seven-day limit “does not apply to chronic pain; pain being treated as a part of cancer care, hospice or other end-of-life care; pain being treated as part of palliative care practices; and medications used to treat opioid addiction.” Where state law or a third-party payer requires it, the limit will be less than seven days.

“We want to be part of solution, while continuing to provide needed care for customers,” senior vice president and chief health officer at Hy-Vee Kristin Williams said in a news release.

Hy-Vee said it also offers naloxone, which is used to reverse narcotic overdoses, without a prescription in all eight states where it operates pharmacies: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Naloxone is stored behind the counter and cost varies, the company said.

Hy-Vee also announced that it will be putting drug takeback containers in all 276 of its pharmacies by Nov. 7. The containers give customers a secure place to dispose of unused medications, including controlled substances.

The policy change Thursday comes months after Hy-Vee announced in January that its pharmacies would no longer allow a subsequent fill of a Schedule II controlled substance, or a refill of a Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled substance, more than 72 hours early without authorization from the prescriber.

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