Wal-Mart Launches Phase Two Of Prescription Program With New $4 Medications And Increased Savings
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced phase two of its $4 prescription program with changes that will help even more Americans deal with the high-cost of healthcare. The program – which has already saved Americans more than $610 million in its first year – has been expanded in two key ways:
• More medicines covering more categories – Important prescription medicines have been added to the $4 program covering glaucoma, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), fungal infections and acne. Fertility and prescription birth control will also be included at $9, compared to national average prices ranging from $24 to $30 per month and saving women an estimated $15 to $21 per month – $180 to $250 annually.
• Faster savings on new-to-market generics – One month ago, the antifungal Lamisil® had an average price of $337.26. The generic equivalent, terbinafine, is now available through Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market pharmacies for just $4 for a commonly dispensed quantity up to a 30-day supply, saving customers $333.26 per prescription. Carvedilol, the generic for Coreg®, which a month ago cost $119, will now cost $4 for a commonly dispensed quantity up to a 30-day supply, saving customers $115 per month – or approximately $1,300 per year.
With the changes announced today Wal-Mart now covers most commonly treated medical conditions and continues to drive down healthcare costs for families. Through the program, the company has provided Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market customers in 16 states alone with savings of more than $396 million combined, or more than $15 million per state. A state-by-state breakdown is available at http://www.livebetterindex.com.
“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to driving costs out of the health system and saving money for our customers so they can live better, healthier lives,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, Wal-Mart senior vice president and president for the professional services division. “The savings were a big deal 12 months ago and an even bigger deal today for customers struggling with spiraling healthcare costs. Everyday, they turn to our pharmacy for prescriptions to manage conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, or even simple colds.”
Additional announcement highlights include:
• During the past year, Wal-Mart estimates that it has saved customers a total of $613,581,398.70.
• Since September 2006, customers have filled millions of $4 prescriptions, representing nearly 40 percent of prescriptions filled in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market pharmacies.
• States with high levels of savings include: Texas ($79,471,091); Florida ($43,969,981); North Carolina ($28,470,880); Georgia ($24,924,421); Missouri ($24,589,118); Ohio ($23,048,247); Illinois ($22,614,573); Indiana ($20,524,690); Arkansas ($20,052,541); Oklahoma ($18,804,293); Tennessee, ($18,318,774); Louisiana ($18,137,638); Pennsylvania ($18,025,112); Kentucky ($17,198,579); Virginia ($16,148,952); and California ($15,355,893).
• After phase two of the program, a total of 361 products made up of 157 medication compounds are now available at Wal-Mart pharmacies nationwide. With the changes announced today, $4 prescriptions are available for most commonly treated medical conditions. In fact, the program now offers a quality prescription product for up to 95 percent of the prescriptions written in the majority of therapeutic categories.
• Wal-Mart has added 24 new $4 prescriptions – including timolol maleate (glaucoma), terbinafine (antifungal), carvedilol (cardiac), and three $9 women’s medications – including generic birth control product for Ortho Cyclen® and Ortho Tri-Cyclen®, and a fertility product, Clomiphene. The full list is available at http://www.walmart.com/pharmacy.
“This program has exceeded all of our expectations,” said Bill Simon, executive vice president, chief operating officer, Wal-Mart Stores Division. “So many Americans rely on our $4 prescription program to get the medicines they need. Phase two of the program is a welcome move that brings additional value and choice to our pharmacy customers, and we’ll continue to look for new ways to drive costs out of the healthcare system.”
The $4 prescription program was initially launched in Tampa, Florida on September 21, 2006 and expanded to 49 states by November 28, 2006 (Wal-Mart does not operate in-store pharmacies in its North Dakota stores). Wal-Mart has also introduced a similar discount program in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil, bringing significant savings to customers in those markets. Today, the program is available at 4005 Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market pharmacies throughout the United States.
“Wal-Mart’s $4 prescription drug program has had a major impact at a time when rising healthcare costs are on everyone’s mind,” said Paul A. London, former Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Economics and Statistics in the Clinton Administration and author of The Competition Solution: The Bipartisan Secret behind American Prosperity, who has been engaged by Wal-Mart to analyze the program’s economic impact. “This program has the potential to lower what the country pays for prescription drugs by tens of billions of dollars annually as customers learn of the program and competitors match it. Wal-Mart is applying its basic business model to lower prices and make affordable healthcare available to more Americans.”
For further information on the program, customers can call 1-800-WALMART or visit their area Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market or Sam’s Club to discuss the program with their pharmacist. Certain drugs are priced higher than $4 in some states – including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Due to state laws, the newly added women’s medications are not available at $9 in those states.
Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their “brand-name” counterparts and are equally effective, but cost significantly less. 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.
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