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On the heels of a recent move by Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, Meijer has also begun offering Metformin, the most commonly prescribed treatment for type 2 diabetes, at no cost to those with a medical prescription. Meijer's program will include doses prescribed in 500-milligram, 850-milligram and 1000-milligram tablets.
“So much of what we do is designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for our shoppers — whether it’s helping them to live better or to feel better," said Hank Meijer, co-chairman/CEO of the 185-store family held chain based in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Our healthy-living and wellness programs include everything from diabetes screenings and in-store food demos to prescription drug programs, immunizations and meal planning. We were pleased when we saw Publix, a company we admire, make this move. We quickly looked at it and decided to do the same here in our five-state region. This is one more way Meijer can help our customers build healthier lifestyles while saving them money.”
The free diabetes prescription program joins other Meijer healthy-living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to shoppers. Three years ago, Meijer’s pharmacy began offering the seven most popular children’s antibiotics at no charge. It followed up that health management program one year later with the news that it would provide free prenatal vitamins for women with a prescription.
To date, Meijer has filled more than 5 million free antibiotic prescriptions, and more than 500,000 prescriptions for free prenatal vitamins. Combined, Meijer has provided a total cost savings to consumers of more than $90 million, the company said.
Effie Steele, clinical services coordinator for the food retailer, explained that type 2 diabetes cases continue to grow as the population ages. The move to add Metformin to its free medication program not only provides “other ways to manage diabetes through the various healthy-living solutions offered in our stores, [but also] reinforces our commitment to promote healthy lifestyles for all of our customers,” she noted.
Steele said Metformin Immediate Release is now believed to be the most widely prescribed anti-diabetic drug in the world. In 2008, more than 80 million prescriptions for the medication were filled in the United States alone.