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Wegmans has become the latest supermarket to offer customers free generic antibiotic prescriptions during the winter cold and flu season, according to published reports.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer will fill shoppers' prescriptions for nine types of drugs when they use a Shoppers Club card through March 31, including Amoxicillin, Penicillin, and Tetracycline.
"We understand the economic pressures families are facing, including the rising cost of health care, which is something I'm especially concerned about," noted company c.e.o. Danny Wegman."We hope this program will help families better cope with those expenses."
The rollout of the program comes just a week after Ahold USA divisions Stop & Shop and Giant Food LLC said they would offer free antibiotics from Jan. 2 to March 21 as part of a "major consumer wellness initiative." Spokeswoman Jo Natale told the Maryland Daily Record that the Wegmans program has been in development for some time, and that the consecutive introductions were coincidental.
"We've been talking about doing this off and on for the last year, but we came to the decision to offer the program at the start of the year," she told the newspaper. "It was not a direct reaction to the Giant's program."
Both Wegmans and the Ahold USA chains have been seeking to help consumers deal with rising prices, through such methods as price reduction programs.
Publix and United Supermarkets have already implemented permanent free antibiotic programs, according to the report.
Wegmans said that it expects the program to save customers about $1 million.