AMA, MAG & others convince Walmart to delay EPSC policy  

The American Medical Association (AMA) has announced that Walmart will delay its plans to require electronic prescribing for all controlled substances (EPCS) beginning on January 1, 2020. AMA, the Medical Association of Georgia and other physicians’ advocacy organizations opposed the policy given the “likelihood for patient harm” and because it is inconsistent with state and federal law.

A Walmart spokeswoman said that, “We recognize not all provider networks and prescribers will have the technology and systems in place to accommodate this requirement, so we will continue to take written prescriptions so patients are not unintentionally negatively affected by this process.”

AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., MA, issued a statement that says that, “The AMA welcomes Walmart’s decision to delay implementation of an electronic prescribing mandate that would have resulted in harm to millions of Americans, including many in rural areas who rely on Walmart as the only pharmacy in reasonable distance. The policy, which the AMA urged Walmart to delay, was not developed in consultation with the nation’s physicians, who support electronic prescribing of controlled substances, but want to see it implemented in a manner that supports – rather than disrupts – patient care.”

Dr. Harris added that, “The AMA will continue to work with physicians, pharmacists, and other partners in health care to improve medication adherence, including removing barriers that impede physicians from electronically prescribing controlled substances."

MAG members can contact Bethany Sherrer at bsherrer@mag.org with questions.

AMA letter opposing Walmart EPCS policy