There has been a lot of mis-reporting about which think tanks take what position on Wal-Mart policies…Here is one position we support..Wal-Mart’s program to make generic drugs even cheaper for millions of Americans and for most of its associates. As for Wal-Mart itself, can’t beat the prices on most items and now that goes for a lot of medicines. The Wal-Mart press release is below:
BENTONVILLE, Ark. Ã¢ Sept. 21, 2006 Ã¢ As part of its ongoing commitment to providing more affordable healthcare for AmericaÃ¢s working families, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced that it will make nearly 300 generic drugs available for only $4 per prescription for up to a 30-day supply at commonly prescribed dosages. The program, to be launched on Friday, will be available to customers and associates of the 65 Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and SamÃ¢s Club pharmacies in Tampa Bay , Fla. area, and will be expanded to the entire state in January 2007.
Ã¢Each day in our pharmacies we see customers struggle with the cost of prescription drugs,Ã¢ said Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr. Ã¢By cutting the cost of many generics to $4, we are helping to ensure that our customers and associates get the medicines they need at a price they can afford. ThatÃ¢s a real solution for our nationÃ¢s working families.Ã¢
Key components of the program include:
* The $4 pricing will be available to all pharmacy customers with a prescription from a doctor that can be filled with a covered generic medicine.
* This program will be available to the uninsured.
* Insurance will be accepted.
* The program presently covers 291 generic medications from many of the most common therapeutic categories.
* The medicines represented are used to treat and manage conditions including allergies, cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Some antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and prescription vitamins are also included.
* The program will be available statewide in Florida in January 2007.
* Wal-Mart intends to take the program to as many states as possible next year.
Ã¢Competition and market forces have been absent from our healthcare system, and that has hurt working families tremendously,Ã¢ Scott said. Ã¢We are excited to take the lead in doing what we do best Ã¢ driving costs out of the system Ã¢ and passing those savings to our customers and associates.Ã¢
The program will help alleviate a major challenge for seniors who have fallen into the Ã¢doughnut holeÃ¢ coverage gap in their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and now find themselves responsible for paying 100 percent of their prescription medicine costs.
Ã¢This act of good corporate citizenship will help consumers manage healthcare costs, while benefiting Florida Ã¢s growing population,Ã¢ said Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Ã¢In addition to providing a great service, Wal-Mart is encouraging important conversations between patients and their doctors about the cost savings associated with generic prescriptions. I am pleased Wal-Mart chose Florida to launch this initiative where our large population of seniors will greatly benefit.Ã¢
Ã¢Fifty-bucks for a yearÃ¢s supply of prescription drugs is a pretty darn good deal for consumers,Ã¢ said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), an outspoken proponent of giving people access to lower-cost prescriptions. Ã¢Because Wal-Mart has the ability to shape the market, maybe other retailers will follow suit.Ã¢
In addition, the program provides a solution for the nearly 2.7 million uninsured Floridians who may also avoid filling prescriptions and remain untreated. Wal-Mart estimates that the program will save the stateÃ¢s Medicaid program hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
In announcing the program, Bill Simon, executive vice president of the Professional Services Division for Wal-Mart, noted that purchasing a 30-day supply of the popular diabetes drug, Metformin, for $4 represents a nearly 50 percent savings from the cost of the brand name version of the drug. In addition, purchasing a 30-day supply of the brand name blood-pressure drug typically costs $12. Getting the generic, Lisinopril, for $4 saves customers nearly $100 annually.
Ã¢These are medicines for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, colds and infections Ã¢ the kinds of medicines that working families need so they can treat illness, manage conditions and stay well,Ã¢ said Simon. Ã¢Rising healthcare costs are eating up more and more of familiesÃ¢ budgets, so this program brings a lot of value to our customers, associates and communities.Ã¢
Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their Ã¢brand-nameÃ¢ counterparts and are equally effective, but cost significantly less. Consumers interested in saving money on prescriptions through the program should ask their doctor if a generic is available for their prescription and is right for them. At this time, the $4 prescriptions are not available by mail order and are available on-line only for in-person pickup in the Tampa Bay, Fla. area. Not all generics in each therapeutic category are included.