Drug Discount Program Expansion Announced
As expected, Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday announced plans to expand a generic prescription drug discount program introduced last month in Florida to 14 additional states, AP/USA Today reports (Kabel, AP/USA Today, 10/20).
Wal-Mart last month announced that the program -- under which some company pharmacies would sell 30-day prescriptions of certain generic medications for $4 -- would initially include 65 Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Neighborhood Market pharmacies in the Tampa, Fla., area and would expand statewide in early 2007 and possibly to other states in the future. Earlier this month, Wal-Mart expanded the program statewide in Florida (California Healthline, 10/19).
According to the latest announcement, Wal-Mart will expand the program to Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Vermont (Kerr, Long Island Newsday, 10/19).
Wal-Mart spokesperson Dave Tovar said that the company will seek to expand the program to other states "as quickly as possible" but that regulatory and legal requirements in some states might delay the process (AP/USA Today, 10/20).
In response to the announcement, Target officials said that company pharmacies will match the prices for generic medications offered by Wal-Mart pharmacies in all of the 14 states except Alaska and Vermont, where Target has no stores.
Walgreen will not match the prices for generic medications offered by Wal-Mart pharmacies. Walgreen in a statement said, "Wal-Mart's limited price promotion is in response to the increasing number of seniors choosing Walgreens for their pharmacy needs. Therefore, Walgreens will not match Wal-Mart's promotion" (Long, Arizona Daily Star, 10/20).
Kmart officials said that company pharmacies since May have offered 90-day prescriptions of 184 generic medications for $15 and will continue to offer those prices (AP/USA Today, 10/20).
Charlie Sewell, senior vice president of government affairs at the National Community Pharmacists Association, said that "if you look at the $4 list of drugs ... about 99 out of 100 are not covered." He added, "They are trying to hoodwink patients into believing that they can get cheap drugs at Wal-Mart. But when they take their prescriptions in, they will be seriously disappointed" (Teitelbaum, CQ HealthBeat, 10/19).