Wal-Mart Announces Accelerated Rollout Of $4 Generic Prescription Program In 14 States
$4 generics to be available in 14 additional states beginning today – three months earlier than projected
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BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Oct. 19, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced that starting today it is rolling out its $4 generic prescription program in 14 additional states. With the announcement, the $4 generic prescription program will be now be available in an additional 1,264 stores throughout Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. The program was launched in 235 Florida pharmacies on October 6, 2006. Wal-Mart originally planned to introduce the program in as many states as possible beginning in 2007, but customer demand led the company to accelerate the launch.
“Since we began the program in September, we’ve been committed to bringing it to other states as soon as possible,” said Wal-Mart President and CEO Lee Scott. “Customers have told us again and again how valuable the $4 generic prescription program is. So we’re thrilled that we can respond in a way that cuts costs out of the system and brings more affordable medicines to our customers. This program is making a real difference in the health of our customers and our communities.”
The $4 generics program includes 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. Wal-Mart estimates that the list of $4 prescription medications represents nearly 25 percent of prescriptions that it currently dispenses in its pharmacies nationwide.
In making the announcement, Bill Simon, executive vice president of the Professional Services Division for Wal-Mart, said the response in Florida has been considerable, with 88,235 new prescriptions filled in the ten days after the October 6, 2006 rollout.
“In one pharmacy in Florida, our pharmacist told me that a woman broke down and started to cry as she told of how the $4 program was saving her $75 a month,” said Simon. “She said, ‘It may not sound like a lot to you, but for the first time in a long time, I’ll be able to buy my grandkids presents for Christmas. It has been a long time since I was able to do that.’ This woman, and so many others like her, are what drive our commitment to ensure this program is available to as many Americans as possible.”
Simon pointed out that customer savings on top-selling prescription medications in the program are projected to be significant. For specific medications, the company estimates the following approximate savings to Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club customers and members in Florida, based on August average retail prices from www.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.
“That’s just in Florida,” said Simon. “Can you imagine what that savings will be as we move this program into these 14 states, and perhaps even beyond?”
Simon said that following the Florida rollout two weeks ago, he continued challenging his team to evaluate Wal-Mart’s supply-chain and in-store operations to determine the states where the program could be launched. He noted that Wal-Mart will continue to push for expansion to other states “as expeditiously as we can.”
“Our goal is to respond to customer demand, but to do so in a way that ensures that it will not interrupt our supply-chain management or in-store operations,” he said. “As we looked at all the factors necessary to expand the program into states earlier, these were the fourteen states where we could deliver the program in a way that meets the needs of our business, but even more importantly, meets the needs of our customers.”
The prescription medicines included in the program represent many of the most commonly prescribed generic medications in a wide range of therapeutic categories. Generics contain the same high quality 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.
Consumers interested in saving money on prescriptions through the program should ask their doctor if a generic is available for their prescription and is right for them. At this time, the $4 prescriptions are not available by mail order but are available on-line or by telephone for refills only for in-person pickup in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. For further information on the program including store locations, customers can call 1-800-WAL-MART, go to www.walmart.com, or visit their Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market or Sam’s Club in the 15 participating states to discuss the program with their pharmacist or pick up a brochure explaining program details.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and NYSE Arca stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com.
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