Skip to comments.[WI] Wal-Mart Will offer $4 Drugs
Posted on 11/27/2006 5:32:42 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
Starting Tuesday, Wal-Mart's 83 Wisconsin pharmacies will offer the company's $4 generic prescription drug program.
A state law that forbids the sale of drug and other products below cost - the Unfair Sales Act - had prevented competitors from offering that price in many cases.
But now that Wal-Mart is bringing the program here, the law has an exception that will allow other competitors to do so, said Janet Jenkins, administrator of the state's Division of Trade and Consumer Protection.
"Other retailers can match Wal-Mart prices if they choose to do so, even if it would be below cost for them," she said.
Wal-Mart has huge purchasing power because of its large number of stores, and consequently can buy drugs at very low prices. The cost of paying employees does not count in the law's calculations.
"We will be offering 331 generic drugs at $4 for up to a 30-day supply of commonly prescribed dosages," Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said this morning. A limited number of those drugs, however, will not be available for that price in Wisconsin because of the state law.
A list of the drugs - which include different dosages of many medications as part of the 331 number - can be obtained online, though specific Wisconsin information will not be available until Tuesday, officials said. Information can also be obtained from local Wal-Mart pharmacies.
Generic drugs contain the same active ingredients as brand-name counterparts but cost less. Medications on the Wal-Mart list include the cardiac medication Atenol, the diabetes medication Metformin and the antibiotic Amoxicillin as well as other popular prescription drugs.
Walgreens won't match:
Walgreen Co., the largest pharmacy chain in the Madison area, will not match the discounts.
"Wal-Mart's promotion is in response to more and more seniors coming to Walgreens for their prescription needs. We have seen our market share for seniors grow more than double the rate of our overall prescription market," said spokesman Michael Polzin in a phone interview this morning.
"Once consumers read the fine print of Wal-Mart's program, they will realize that Walgreens still offers their best value."
He contended that Wal-Mart's discount covers only 5 percent of all generic drugs on the market and added that it does not cover any brand name medications.
"For seniors covered under Medicare Part D, where they are just responsible for a co-pay, their average co-pay for the medications on Wal-Mart's $4 list is only $3.18 at Walgreens. And if you look at all of our pharmacy patients, the average co-pay is just over $5 for the medications on Wal-Mart's list. So it's not enough of a price difference to make patients switch. And in the case of seniors on Medicare Part D, why change pharmacies to pay more at a less convenient place?"
Polzin said 95 percent of Walgreens pharmacy patients have prescription insurance, so they are only responsible for a small co-pay.
He conceded, however, that uninsured people under 65 who take those particular medications could benefit from the Wal-Mart and Target discounts.
Target Corp. expanded its own $4 generic prescription drug program to all Target pharmacies nationwide last week, after previously offering it in states where Wal-Mart was doing so. Spokespersons at corporate headquarters did not return phone calls this morning as to whether more drugs would now be added to the list in Wisconsin because of Wal-Mart's latest move.
Jenkins said "lower-priced prescription drugs are always good news for consumers," but she would not comment on whether Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act should be changed.
"We are proud to have introduced competition to an area where it has been too scarce for too long," said Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Lee Scott in a written statement. "When we made our initial announcement in Florida back in September, we never imagined that in addition to our 3,800 pharmacies, thousands of others would join us in bringing more affordable medicines to our nation's seniors."
Wal-Mart has been phasing in the program since September. With the addition of Wisconsin and 10 other states on Tuesday, it will now be available in all 3,810 Wal-Mart pharmacies in 49 states. Pharmacies are located in Wal-Mart, Sam's and Neighborhood Market stores, Lundberg said.
Wal-Mart says its list of $4 generic prescriptions already represents more than 25 percent of prescriptions currently dispensed in its pharmacies nationwide.
"Just In Case This Can Save You Money" Ping!
Thank goodness for the prescription drugs program!
D@mn them! They just keep giving me MORE reasons to shop there. I've seen the list and this will save us $80 a month, though I WILL check the Walgreens prices as well.
As you know, every penny counts around here! :)
I know! It's going to save us a good $80/month in this household. :)
My teenage grandson refers to Walmart shoppers as "Walmartians".
And here I have been telling the children "Just Say No". Dangit.
I'll be investigating the possibilities for Mom, tomorrow.
Wow, the "Unfair Sales Act" sounds like something out of an Ayn Rand novel.
Note: If you live in a state where Walmart offers the $4 plan be sure and asked your pharmacy if they will match it. I use CVS and they will match the Walmart $4 plan drug for drug.
We ARE a back-@sswards state controlled by Socialists. Ayn's head would explode if she were still alive to come and visit. :(
"Free Market? We don't need no steeeeenking Free Market 'round here!" /sarcasm
I know. If prices are too high, it's "gouging", if they're too low it's "predatory" or "unfair", and if they're the same as everybody else it's "collusion".
Last Friday we found out that the $150 computer Wal-Mart was selling was $180 in Wisconsin. Not the only item, either. They were forced to charge higher prices.
I'm not sure if they still have it, but in the early 80s Oklahoma had a 'minimum price' law to 'protect mom-n-pops' from undercut competition.
Walmart was just moving into the state and had a hard time because they wanted to offer prices lower than the state would allow.
If prices are too high, it's "gouging", if they're too low it's "predatory" or "unfair", and if they're the same as everybody else it's "collusion".
An excellent point to remember!
"a 'minimum price' law to 'protect mom-n-pops' from undercut competition."
They still do that with gasoline here in Wisconsin. Aside from the outrageous taxes we pay on a gallon of gas, they also have a "minimum markup law" that doesn't allow anyone to undercut their price per gallon and start a "gas war."
Probably a leftover from Jimmuh Carter. Worst. President. Ever.
Wisconsin is dictating consumer prices to a private enterprise? Move over Karl Marx.
Lower prices - the secret brain-altering radiation that forces shoppers to flock to Wal-Mart in spite of proof by the ultra left and the ultra right that the chain is directly controlled by the Devil (email@example.com) himself.
the chain is directly controlled by the Devil (firstname.lastname@example.org) himself
I thought it was the Chicomms, or was it the sprinkled Methodists, (isn't Hillary both of those?)oh, I get so confused!
Competition has always been the fuel for capitalism. If a business can't compete they won't survive. Simple. Wal-Mart has been very good for the economy as it forces other businesses to compete and get better. We have a wonderful drug store here that is locally owned and has several stores in the surrounding areas. They are matching Wal-Mart's $4 generic drug offer. I will do a lot of my Christmas shopping at that drug store because they have a great gift shop area, and the prices are competitive. They are not whinning about Wal-Mart, they are competing and thriving. Same with my son's photography studio. He can't compete with Wal-Mart's prices, but he can offer things that Wal-Mart does not; a better quality portrait and computer generated personalized special effects. Wal-Mart sells pictures, he sells art.
Do the math. A pharmacist makes 80-100 K. That's $40-$50/hr. At $4 Wal-Mart makes $1-2/Rx max. That means a pharmacist has to fill 20-40 of these every hour just to cover their wages. That is unsafe! (Don't worry, they make it up in a big way on other Rx's)
As far as minimum markup laws, you seem to think they cost you. Study up & you'll learn what Wal-Mart is all about. Undercut & run the competition out of business, then they have a monopoly. That explains why they sold the same baby formula for around $10 in a city with a pharmacy & $20 in a city less than 10 miles away without one. (this came out in a court case in Arkansas 10-15 yrs ago) Which price do you think they intended to stay with if/when they ran the pharmacy out of business.
Is that why every Wal-Mart attracts a batch of small stores surrounding it, feeding on the traffic the megastore brings, like fish in a coral reef?
Thanks for the reminder. The deed is done.
Sorry for the slow reply, haven't logged in for a while. In answer to your question, there are still some people that understand that service is important. A customer I get from Wal-Mart is mine for good! As far as the $4 RX program, I have lost 1 customer to date. She will get her 4 prescriptions for $4 each (if they 4 are all on the list,which they probably are not) instead of the $10 copay she would normally pay. She is over 70 & will drive 8 miles instead of 1, park 100-700 feet from the pharmacy counter instead of 15-25 and wait an average of 10-30 minutes instead of 1-3 minutes. I laughed when I gave the transfers to Wal-Mart because she gripes about everything. I will probably get her back & she will be a lot easier to deal with when I do.
What all those anti-Wal-Mart whiners out there miss is that customers don't only look at price when they shop: service does count. Small retailers who understand this CAN compete with Wal-Mart and its fabled $3 jar of pickles.
Old people on fixed incomes tend to watch every penny. Now that my generation is getting old, we're starting to be as chintzy about our prescription costs as we were about our nickel bags and bong hits back in the day. The cost and convenience of parking, waiting times, and ability to one-stop-shop all factor into the equation when we get our presciptions filled. Give us services and amenities that improve on Wal-Mart, and we'll come back. It's the American way.