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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Responding to customer demand and requests from Florida state officials, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. here said plans to roll out its $4 generic prescription program in Florida beginning today, nearly four months earlier than expected.
The program was originally planned to be launched statewide in January 2007.
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"This program makes everyone at Wal-Mart proud," said Wal-Mart president and c.e.o. Lee Scott. "It enables us to respond to the needs of our customers who have struggled far too long with the high cost of prescriptions. Part of this is about saving these customers money, but even more importantly, it's about making sure they get the medicines they need to live healthier lives."
The $4 generic prescription program has been expanded to include 314 generic prescriptions available for up to a 30-day supply at commonly prescribed dosages. The list of 314 generic prescriptions is made up of as many as 143 compounds in 24 therapeutic categories.
Since launching the program in the Tampa Bay market two weeks ago, Wal-Mart has expanded the program to include medicines such as the oncology drug Megestrol, and Lovastatin, which is used to treat cholesterol. The list of $4 prescription medications now represents nearly 30 percent of prescriptions currently dispensed in the 235 Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies throughout Florida.
Bill Simon, e.v.p. of the Professional Services Division for Wal-Mart, said the response in the Tampa Bay, Fla. test market has been considerable, with 36,000 new prescriptions filled in the 10 days after the September 21, 2006 launch. Customer savings on top-selling prescription medications in the program are projected to be significant.
The prescriptions included in the program represent many of the most commonly prescribed medications in a wide range of therapeutic categories. Generics contain the same active ingredients as their brand-name counterparts and are equally effective but cost significantly less. Wal-Mart continues to use the same suppliers as before the launch of the $4 generic prescription program.
For specific medications, the company estimates the following approximate savings to Florida Wal-Mart and Sam's Club customers and members under the program, based on current average retail prices from myfloridarx.com:
- Fluoxetine (20 mg), an antidepressant: about $210,000 monthly and $2.5 million annually on this medication.
- Lisinopril (10 mg), used to treat high blood pressure: about $150,000 monthly and $1.8 million annually on this medication.
- Atenolol (25 mg), a beta blocker: about $75,000 monthly and $900,000 annually on this medication.
"Across the board, seniors, working families and the uninsured have lined up at our Tampa area pharmacies and told us that we're doing the right thing. Others have asked us, 'Why not in my town?'" said Simon. "So we've evaluated our supply chain and in-store operations over the past two weeks and we're able to respond to consumer demand to expand the program sooner than we initially anticipated."
Simon also has challenged his team with figuring out how to expand the program to other states before the end of the year. "We're doing what we do best -- driving costs out of the system so consumers benefit," he said. "And, we're doing it in a way that introduces competition to an area where there hasn't been enough of it."