Publix Supermarkets To Offer No-Cost Generic Prescription Antibiotics
Florida-based Publix Super Markets on Monday began offering 14-day supplies of seven common, generic antibiotics at no cost to customers with a valid prescription, the AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
There will be no limit on the number of prescriptions a customer may fill. The supermarket chain will offer the no-cost antibiotics at its 684 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee (AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 8/6).
The move by Publix comes after Wal-Mart Stores last year launched a program that offers 30-day supplies of 291 generic drugs for $4; Target offers a similar program. Michigan-based grocer Meijer in October 2006 began offering eight generic antibiotics at no cost.
The antibiotics offered by Publix, which have an average price between $10 and $60, are amoxicillin, cephalexin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, penicillin VK, ciprofloxacin, ampicillin and erythromycin. The company has declined to disclose how much the program would cost (Bora, St. Petersburg Times, 8/7).
Publix said that it will not bill insurers, including Medicare, for the cost of the drugs for customers who have health coverage. The company estimates that antibiotics account for nearly 50% of generic and pediatric prescriptions filled at Publix pharmacies (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 8/6).
Publix CEO Charlie Jenkins said, "Frankly, we're interested in building our pharmacy business," adding, "But moreover, we want to help the citizens of our state have affordable health care, and we thought this was just a good start in doing that."
Andrew Agwunobi, secretary of Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, noted that the state has 3.6 million uninsured residents and that many insured residents lack prescription drug coverage. Agwunobi predicted a heavy response to the program, adding, "So I hope (Publix stores) are ready" (AP/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 8/6).