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Is Walgreens selling Narcan illegally in Maine?
A member of the Maine Board of Pharmacy told NEWS CENTER it notified Walgreens to stop selling Narcan to people without a prescription. NEWS CENTER's Tennyson Coleman was able to buy the drug without a prescription the very next day.
Tennyson Coleman , WCSH 10:13 PM. EDT July 25, 2017
BANGOR, MAINE (NEWS CENTER) - Buying Narcan without a prescription is now law in Maine, but you aren't supposed to be able to get it in stores yet.
However it seems there may be a loophole that allows you to easily get the overdose reversal drug at some stores.
Monday, NEWS CENTER reported that Walgreens pharmacies in Maine now offer the drug over the counter. Later that evening, a member of the Maine Board of Pharmacy, reached out to us saying Walgreens was not supposed to be selling it without a prescription yet.
But NEWS CENTER's Tennyson Coleman easily got his hands on Narcan at a Walgreens in Bangor Tuesday morning. The process took less than 30 minutes and only costed $25.
Joe Bruno, a professor of Pharmacy Law at University of New England spoke to NEWS CENTER Tuesday. Bruno is also a member of the Maine Board of Pharmacy, but was not able to speak as a board member on behalf of the board. He originally told NEWS CENTER that sale should not have happened, because the Board of Pharmacy still needs to approve regulations on selling Narcan without a prescription.
"They're going to be passed next week at the Board of Pharmacy," Bruno said.
Bruno says that is expected to happen at a board meeting Thursday, August 3rd. Then it would go to Governor LePage, who would have to sign off on it. Bruno says the process could take at least a month and that Walgreens was notified to stop selling Narcan over the counter Monday.
NEWS CENTER went back to Walgreens Tuesday afternoon after making the purchase that morning, and asked if the store is selling Narcan over the counter legally. Walgreens says they are in fact selling it "in accordance with the law." The Walgreens representative told NEWS CENTER that they are doing so through a standing order with a prescriber. That means Walgreens has a doctor that likely went through training, giving said doctor the authority to give out the drug.
Bruno confirmed that this workaround does exist.
"In that regard, if they have a prescriber that they have a standing order with, they did not do anything wrong." Bruno said.
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