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Health Highlights: May 8, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Walmart Announces New Measures to Cut Opioid Abuse

Walmart Inc. says it will take more steps to reduce opioid medication abuse and misuse.

Earlier this year, the company announced free opioid medication disposal in all its U.S. pharmacies.

On Monday, the company said that within the next 60 days, Walmart and Sam's Club will restrict initial acute opioid prescriptions to no more than a seven-day supply, with up to a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day.

This policy follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for opioid use. Where state law for fills on new acute opioid prescriptions is less than seven days, Walmart and Sam's Club will follow state law.

The company also said that as of Jan. 1, 2020, Walmart and Sam's Club will require e-prescriptions for controlled substances. Along with reducing the risk of errors, e-prescriptions cannot be altered or copied and are electronically trackable, according to the company.

It also said that by the end of August 2018 in states where permitted, Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacists will have access to and use the controlled substance tracking tool, NarxCare, to help them make dispensing decisions.

The company also said it will have the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone behind the pharmacy counters of its stores and clubs and dispensing naloxone upon request, where allowed by state law.

Also, the company said its pharmacists provide CDC-directed naloxone recommendations for patients who might be at risk for opioid overdose.


One Million Pounds of Prescription Drugs Collected on Latest Take Back Day

Americans turned in a record 1 million pounds of unwanted and unused prescription drugs during the latest national Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28.

The largest amounts of medications turned in were in Texas (nearly 83,000 pounds) and California (about 70,000 pounds), according to the Department of Justice, the Washington Times reported.

This is the 15th such event since the Drug Enforcement Agency held its first one in 2010. In total, the program has collected nearly 9 million pounds of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

The opioid crisis in the U.S. has increased the importance of the event, according to the Times. Last year, more than 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, 42,000 of which were linked to opioids, Justice Department data show.


Judge Says Coffee Sold in California Must Carry Cancer Warnings

Coffee sold in California must carry cancer warnings, a judge said in a final ruling Monday.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said coffee roasters and retailers did not prove that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any cancer risks from a chemical called acrylamide that is a byproduct of the roasting process, the Associated Press reported.

Berle's final decision confirms one he initially made in March in a lawsuit brought against about 90 companies by the nonprofit group Council for Education and Research on Toxics under a California law that requires warnings on products and in places where chemicals that can cause cancer are present.

The final ruling means the nonprofit group can seek a permanent injunction that would either lead to coffee warning labels or a pledge by the coffee industry to remove the chemical from their product, as the potato chip industry was forced to do when sued by the council, the AP reported.

Attorney Raphael Metzger represents the nonprofit and said he hopes mediation will lead to a settlement.

If no agreement is reached, the next step in the legal process would award civil penalties as high as $2,500 per person exposed each day since the suit was filed in 2010, the AP reported.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2018

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