Retailing giant Wal-Mart announced a new program that will offer consumers $4 prescriptions for generic drugs (you can see the full list here: WMT-druglist).
Several commentators have already pooh poohed this as a mere publicity stunt in an election year.
WalGreens and CVS and and other pharmacies have gotten shellacked on
the news — as well they should (Target was relatively unchanged, while
Rite Aid has been a disaster for too long to remember). Wal-Mart
crushed many of the inefficient or simply "less efficient" supermarkets
when they moved into food retailing — I would expect they could have a
similar impact here.
In addition to selling this as a retail loss leader, I wouldn’t be suprised if Wal-Mart rolled out a targeted program for certain corporate health care providers — think either GM or Ford. It would be nice if someohow GM or Ford could lop off a few $100 from the cost of manufacturing each vehicle.
And given Wal-Mart’s heft, this could very easily have a significant impact on the entire health care system in the United States.
The program will be launched tomorrow starting in 65 stores (Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club pharmacies) in
Tampa Bay, Florida; It will expand statewide area, and will be expanded to the entire state in January 2007, and expanded nationwide later in the year.
Key components (via WMT’s press release) include:
• $4 pricing will be available to
all pharmacy customers with a doctor’s prescription that can be filled via generic.
• This program will be available to the uninsured; Insurance will
• The program presently covers 291 generic medications from
many of the most common therapeutic categories.
• The medicines
represented are used to treat and manage conditions including allergies,
cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes; Some
antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and prescription vitamins are also
Fascinating stuff . . .
Wal-Mart Tests in Florida Its $4 Generic-Drug Plan
WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP
September 21, 2006 12:49 p.m.