Wal-Mart Rolling out Drug Plan Early; Pharmacies at 19 Stores and Three Sam's Club in Area Bracing for Expected Influx

By Karkaria, Urvaksh | The Florida Times Union, October 6, 2006 | Go to article overview

Wal-Mart Rolling out Drug Plan Early; Pharmacies at 19 Stores and Three Sam's Club in Area Bracing for Expected Influx


Karkaria, Urvaksh, The Florida Times Union


Byline: URVAKSH KARKARIA

Area Wal-Mart stores are bracing for a spike in pharmacy sales after the retail behemoth announced a statewide roll-out of a discounted drug program - four months ahead of schedule.

Starting today, Wal-Mart will sell more than 300 generic prescription drugs at a sharply reduced price across Florida, including at 19 Wal-Mart pharmacies and three Sam's Club pharmacies in the First Coast.

The retailer is already selling 291 generic medications at $4 for a month's supply at its stores, as well as Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies, in the Tampa Bay area. Critics say that number is misleading and only amounts to about 125 different drugs because Wal-Mart counted the same drug in different dosages to come up with its total.

A trade association of independent pharmacies that compete with Wal-Mart said the program offers just a fraction of the roughly 8,700 generic drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Wal-Mart announced the Tampa Bay program two weeks ago, and Wal-Mart executives said at the time they would look to expand the program statewide in January, and nationwide after that.

But Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives said Thursday customer demand and requests from Florida officials led them to expand the program throughout the state. The list of drugs has also been expanded to 314 medicines.

Within 10 days of the Sept. 21 launch of the program in the Tampa Bay area, Wal-Mart filled 36,000 new prescriptions, said Bill Simon, executive vice president of Wal-Mart's professional services division. …

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