Wal-Mart Bringing $4 Generic Prescriptions to Working Families
As part of our ongoing commitment to bringing affordable health care to America’s working families
Mart is making 314 generic prescriptions
available to customers and associates for only $4 per prescription for
up to a 30-day supply at commonly prescribed dosages
. The program – initially launched in Tampa, Florida on
September 21, 2006 and expanded across Florida on October 6, 2006 – has now been rolled out to the 1,008 Wal-
Mart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri,
New Hampshire, Ohio, South Dakota and Virginia, well ahead of initial plans for a 2007 expansion. The program is
also available in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. We will continue working to bring this program to as many states as
possible as soon as possible.
Key components of the $4 program:
The program offers $4 pricing to all pharmacy customers and Wal-Mart associates
with a prescription from a
doctor that can be filled with a covered generic, including the uninsured. Insurance plans will be accepted.
This low price covers 314 generic prescriptions made up of as many as 143 compounds in 24 therapeutic
The 314 prescriptions account for more than one in four of the prescriptions filled in Wal-Mart
and Sam’s Club pharmacies nationwide.
They include medicines in the following categories: cardiac, antibiotic,
oncology, cholesterol, gastrointestinal, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, vitamins, diabetes, antipsychotic, cough
and cold, hormone, antifungal, antimicrobial, asthma, analgesic, glaucoma, incontinence, allergy, Parkinson’s,
antiviral, anxiety, seizure and thyroid. Not all generic drugs in each category are included in the program.
Some of the top-branded medications covered by generic counterparts under the program are: Glucophage
); Tenormin (high blood pressure
); Prinivil (ACE inhibitor
); Zestril (ACE inhibitor
); Synthroid (thyroid)
and Lasix (diuretic
). According to www.rxlist.com, the list includes 14 of the top 20 prescribed drugs in the United
Since the initial launch of the program, we have already added Lovastatin (a commonly prescribed statin),
Paroxetine (antidepressant), Levothyroxine (thyroid) and Megestrol (an oncology drug) to the list of covered prescriptions, and we will continue working to expand the list as quickly as possible.
We anticipate significant savings for our customers under this program. For example, we have
estimated that our $4 price will lead to the following savings on two prescriptions for our customers in the 27
participating states (compared to the September average retail price on www.myfloridarx.com):
o Fluoxetine (20 mg),
an antidepressant: nearly $1.9 million monthly
and $23.2 million annually
o Amoxicillin (500 mg)
, an antibiotic: about $1.3 million monthly
and $15.5 million annually
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the 27 states in the $4 program are home to nearly 29 million
uninsured residents. The $4 program provides a solution for those nearly 29 million uninsured residents
who may presently avoid filling prescriptions and remain untreated. We estimate that the program will save state
Medicaid programs hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one third of the Hispanic population is uninsured.
Alabama and Georgia are among the states with the largest Hispanic growth in the nation, while Iowa, Michigan
and Missouri are among the states with new and emerging Hispanic populations. According to data compiled by the National Council of La Raza, these states combined are home to more than 4 million uninsured Hispanics. The $4 program provides a solution to those more than 4 million uninsured Hispanics who might presently avoid filling prescriptions and remain untreated.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-fifth of the African American population is uninsured.
Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia are among the ten states with the largest African American
population. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, these states are home to more than 1.4 million non-elderly uninsured African Americans. The $4 program provides a solution to those more than 1.4 million non-elderly uninsured African Americans who might presently avoid filling prescriptions and remain untreated.
Especially important to the more than 21 million Medicare recipients in the 27 states
, the $4 generic
prescription program will help alleviate a major challenge for those who have fallen into the coverage gap
in their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans,
also known as the “doughnut hole.” These seniors now find
themselves responsible for paying 100 percent of prescription drug costs between $2,250 and $5,100.
Medicaid patients will see no change with this program.
They have a $1 co-pay today, and they will have $1
co-pay with this program. There will be savings to the state and taxpayers.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, American pharmacies filled more than 3 billion prescriptions
at a retail cost of more than $170 billion. Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients as their “brand-
name” counterparts and are equally effective, but cost significantly less.
According to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, generic medicines account for 56% of all
prescriptions dispensed in the United States.
That’s more than one billion generic pharmaceutical products used
to fill prescriptions in this country every year.
By lowering our prices on a number of commonly-prescribed medications to $4, we can bring competition
to the pharmacy marketplace
and ease the burden of the high costs of healthcare for our customers and
, while at the same time ensuring they get the medicines they need at prices they can afford.
ü We will transmit all claims so that Pharmacy Benefit Managers will have the same ability to monitor claims
that they do today.
ü Patients wishing to switch from brand-name to generic prescription medicines should do so only after consulting their physician or pharmacist first.
Our pharmacists take their role in counseling customers about the
safe and effective use of prescription medicines very seriously.
ü Wal-Mart associates will have access to the $4 medications
. Their 10% associate discount does not apply
to drugs paid for by an insurance plan, but does apply to cash-only sales.
ü The $4 prescription program is an in-store initiative.
As such, it will not be available by mail or online at
this time, although customers may order refills online or by telephone to pick up in person in pharmacies in the
What Others Are Saying:
Sen. Jack Critcher, D-Batesville, said the announcement “was a ‘historic day.’ ‘This is going to benefit all
Arkansans, especially seniors facing the higher costs of prescriptions,’
said Critcher, who will be the Senate’s
president pro tempore in next year’s session. ‘All of us who pay taxes will benefit as well.’” (Associated Press
“There are a lot of Arizonans who can’t afford to pay for their prescriptions,
[State Rep. Linda Lopez, a
Tucson Democrat who represents District 29] said. ‘Wal-Mart is stepping up to the plate to meet the needs of
folks in the community
,’ she said.” (Arizona Daily Star, 10/20/06)
“’We can make a difference for senior citizens. We can make a difference for those who don’t have insurance.
We can make a difference for the state of Indiana as one of the largest purchasers of pharmaceuticals
through our state Medicaid program,’ said Rep. Brian Bosma, House Speaker (R-IN).” (WISH-TV.com,
“‘It’s good to hear that a company like Wal-Mart is taking responsibility for dealing with the high cost of
said Tyrone Jones, interim director and chief executive at the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban
League. ‘You will get a cross section of people wanting to benefit from this.’” (The News Journal (DE), 10/20/06)
“Andy Martinez, former chief executive officer of the Round Rock Health Clinic, said he regularly saw low-
income families who could not afford health care and medications. More than 5.5 million Texans do not have health
insurance, according to U.S. census statistics. ‘Many of these families have to make a decision to put food on
the table or buy prescriptions,’ said Martinez, now president of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce. ‘Solutions like this will certainly help out.’” (Austin American-Statesman (TX), 10/20/06)
“‘Our initial impression is that these kinds of ready-access programs to discount pricing on generic
drugs will help an awful lot of families,’
said Ron Cookston, director of Gateway to Care, a coalition of more
than 60 health care and social service providers, groups and community organizations in Houston. ‘If nothing else,
it’s bringing to the attention of the general public the cost savings associated with generics.’” (Houston Chronicle, 10/21/06)
“We have a health plan, and it doesn’t cover any medications at all, so I think it would be great if they do
lower a lot of the medications, especially for children
,” said Wal-Mart shopper Juliette Law. The last time her son
got sick, “the cough medicine cost me about $45, so [$4 is] a lot better.” (WPEC News 12 (FL), 10/5/06)
“‘That’s excellent,’ said Steve Rawley, a small-business owner, who paid $4 instead of $44 for a 30-day
supply of Metformin
, a diabetes medicine, at a Wal-Mart on Tomball Parkway, where it was announced. ‘When
you have to struggle to get the prescription every month, if you can get any kind of generic for a discounted
price, that’s a great deal.’” (Houston Chronicle, 10/19/06)
“Wal-Mart brought pharmacy customer Louis Hopkins, 62, of Fairview to the morning announcement at a Plano
Supercenter. He said he takes 12 prescriptions as part of his ongoing treatment from brain surgeries last
year, and five of those are on Wal-Mart’s $4 list
. The former Texas Instruments engineer isn’t eligible for Medicare.
‘When you’re working, you don’t care,’ he said. ‘But when you’re not, and have to pay $14,000 a year in insurance
premiums, even one dollar’s savings makes a difference
.’” (The Dallas Morning News, 10/20/06)
“Wal-Mart’s steady venture into cheap generic drugs will certainly be a needed boon for many people
who don’t have adequate insurance or other means of helping pay for prescribed medications
already been reports out of Florida of Wal-Mart pharmacists being hugged when the $4 prescriptions are filled.
Customers like it. And customer satisfaction just might explain why Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer. Whatever
the motives, this is a welcome, voluntary move at a time when health care costs are such a critical issue
facing people today.
We welcome such initiatives in the private sector that supplement ponderous government
agencies and programs.” (Editorial, Yakima Herald-Republic (WA), 10/23/06)
“[T]he program will make available drugs for all customers, including people without insurance. The fact that the
company is able to do so shows that even the pharmaceutical industry is susceptible to the market power
of the major players. That is a lesson that ought to be applied more broadly.
Wal-Mart has shown that there
is much to be gained by bargaining to secure the lowest prices possible. There is no reason the federal government
cannot work to secure low-cost pharmaceuticals for the people dependent on federal programs.” (Editorial, Rutland
Herald (VT), 10/22/06)
For further information on the program, customers can call 1-800-WALMART, log on to www.walmart.com/pharmacy,
or visit their Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club pharmacy in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
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