Drug Discount Program Launches in California
The expansion of Wal-Mart's generic drug discount program to California could establish conditions "for a generic drug price war," the Sacramento Bee reports (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 11/28). Under the program, Wal-Mart pharmacies sell 30-day prescriptions of certain generic medications for $4 (California Healthline, 11/27).
Wal-Mart on Tuesday will launch the program in California, after the discount store chain on Monday announced that it would expand the program nationwide. Wal-Mart on Monday also announced that it would increase the number of generic drugs included in the discount program to 331 from 291. Company officials say the discounts apply to 14 of the 20 most prescribed medications.
Target Stores last week announced that it would expand its generic drug discount program nationwide, including its California stores. Target also sells some generic prescriptions for $4.
According to the Bee, some pharmacist groups and a retail analyst question how much of an effect the discount programs will have on drug prices but noted that the programs might have more serious implications for independent pharmacies (Sacramento Bee, 11/28).
The National Community Pharmacists Association has voiced concerns about Wal-Mart's generic drug discount program and asked the chain to permit an independent auditor to review data that Wal-Mart officials say shows that 30% of prescriptions filled at its pharmacies are covered by the discount program (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 11/28).