The Wal-Mart Prescription Drug Benefit


I've spent a fair amount of time shilling for Wal-Mart's prescription drug plan on this blog, so don't think for a second that I would miss today's news that the Corporate Monster from Bentonville is greatly expanding the program to include a whole slate of new drugs, including, according to AP, "several women's medications."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, announced Monday it would expand its discounted prescription drug program to offer 90-day supplies for $10 and add several women's medications at a discount. It also said it would lower the price of more than 1,000 over-the-counter drugs.

The move marks the third phase of a company program that began in 2006 to provide a 30-day supply of generic prescription drugs for $4. The Bentonville-based company said the program has saved customers more than $1 billion.

With the expansion, the company began filling prescriptions Monday for up to 350 generic medications at $10 for a 90-day supply at Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies in the U.S. Almost all the prescription generics in the company's $4 program were included in the expanded $10 offer, said Wal-Mart senior vice president John Agwunobi.

In addition, the company will add several women's medications to its list of prescriptions available for $9, including drugs to treat breast cancer and hormone deficiency.

For instance, alendronate, the generic version of osteoporosis medication Fosamax, will be added to the list. Company pharmacies will fill 30-day prescriptions of alendronate for $9 and a 90-day supply for $24 at a comparison of $54 and $102, respectively, that women previously paid for the same amounts, the company said.

Tamoxifen, used to treat breast cancer, will be offered for $9 for a 30-day supply, as well as combination estrogen/methyltestosterone tablets, prescribed for menopause and hormone deficiency.

Wal-Mart also will lower the prices of more than 1,000 over-the-counter medications to $4 or less in its pharmacies, company officials said. The company has sold over-the-counter medicines in the past at discounted prices, but revised and expanded its offerings specifically to include commonly used drugs that usually sell for $7 or more, said company spokesman Deisha Galberth.

My previous paeans to the Wal-Mart plan can be read here and here. My pooh-poohing of the "big box panic"—with the requisite Wal-Mart mentions—can be found in this month's Utne Reader.