Walmart Will Require All Locations to Have EPCS in 2020

Walmart announced recently that they will require all of their pharmacies (more than 4,000) to use e-prescribing of controlled substances when prescribing opioids, effective January 1, 2020. Put differently, any healthcare organization whose patients use a Walmart pharmacy must use an electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) platform when prescribing.

Support of EPCS by a Retail Giant

To understand the significance of the move, it must also be understood just how vast Walmart’s influence is as a retail pharmacy chain.

Consider the following:

  • 3rd – by sales. Walmart is the third largest pharmacy chain in the U.S. retail industry. In 2017, their sales were $20.5 billion.
  • 3rd – by number of pharmacists. Walmart is the third largest retail pharmacy in the U.S., employing 10,458 pharmacists.
  • 4th – by number of stores. With 4,403 stores, Walmart is the fourth largest retail pharmacy in the U.S.

And for many, Walmart is the go-to pharmacy, given its affordability and convenience.

That an organization with the size and reach of Walmart would require EPCS is a far-reaching move, meaning perhaps thousands of facilities must begin using an EPCS (if they aren’t already) — or have their patients visit a different pharmacy.

Walmart’s new requirement will join a number of similar federal and state regulations aimed at curbing opioid abuse and misuse. There are currently 44 states mandating either prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP databases) or EPCS. Of the 44, four states have mandates for both, and another 16 will have mandates for both PDMP or EPCS in the future.

For information on how your organization can easily move to an electronic e-prescribing solution within a specialty behavioral health EHR, contact

DrFirst® offers, through AZZLY Rize®, EPCS Gold℠. Our very user-friendly interface eliminates clicks and time by syncing all orders, renewals, and history back to the EHR. By integrating mandatory state PDMP check into the EHR workflow, for example, DrFirst estimates 3x time savings. That’s 2/3 of your time normally spent on checking your PDMP database that you can have back to spend with your patient, just by not having to open a new url and sign in.

To learn more about AZZLY Rize, contact us. And if you’d like to learn about EPCS Gold, or your state’s regulations regarding EPCS and PDMP, visit DrFirst’s site.

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