Major Chain Pharmacies Stocking Naloxone in Maryland

Responding to a request from state officials to provide greater access to naloxone, CVS Health, Walgreens, and other chain pharmacies will stock and dispense the opioid overdose antidote in stores across Maryland, as well as train their pharmacists on administering the lifesaving medication.

Responding to a request from state officials to provide greater access to naloxone, CVS Health, Walgreens, and other chain pharmacies will stock and dispense the opioid overdose antidote in stores across Maryland, as well as train their pharmacists on administering the lifesaving medication.

In an effort to combat an increase in the number of fatal overdoses in Maryland, the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) launched the Overdose Response Program in March 2014 to train and certify qualified individuals on administering naloxone during an overdose. Since then, the DHMH has also encouraged health care providers to prescribe naloxone to patients receiving prescription opioids and removed pre-authorization requirements for Medicaid patients to obtain the overdose reversal agent.

“This partnership with CVS Health, Walgreens, Safeway and other independent pharmacies will help save lives,” said DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein in a press release. “Clinicians can now write prescriptions for this life-saving medication, knowing that it is available across the state.”

CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis told The Baltimore Sun that the company will stock naloxone at about half of its 170 retail stores across Maryland. CVS has been keeping the medication on hand in Rhode Island since the fall, so Maryland will be the second state where the retailer stocks naloxone.

“We are pleased to partner with DHMH to promote the availability of naloxone as part of our ongoing efforts to combat drug abuse,” said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs for CVS, in the press release. “In addition to having naloxone in stock at many of our pharmacies in Maryland, all CVS pharmacy locations in the state can order naloxone for patients who have a prescription for this medication.”

Safeway pharmacies in Maryland will start stocking naloxone on January 2, 2015, according to DHMH.