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In an address to the Council of Teaching Hospitals in New Orleans on Friday, Wal-Mart’s s.v.p. and president of health and wellness, Dr. John Agwunobi, said that the retailer’s $4 prescription program, which covers most commonly treated medical conditions, also spurred other retailers to craft similar programs.
“While $1 billion in savings is an astonishing achievement, the real savings to America – and its health care system – are even larger,” Agwunobi said. “That’s because many of our competitors have also lowered their prices.”
The Wal-Mart program now represents approximately 40 percent of all its filled prescriptions, the exec said. Nearly 30 percent of $4 prescriptions are filled without insurance – significantly higher than the 10 percent industry trend, he said. “This program has meant that people can now take the drugs that were prescribed to them,” Agwunboi said. “They no longer need to cut pills in half or not take the drugs at all.”
Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Neighborhood Market customers in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Missouri top the savings list respectively, each state with more than $40 million in prescription drug savings.