October 26, 2006
The prescription drug wars may be heating up.
As Wal-Mart starts to offer low-cost generics in our area, will other major competitors jump on board?
We have some answers for you.
Many of you are dealing with the high cost of prescription drugs.
Starting now, Wal-Mart is offering some generic prescription drugs for as low as $4 in Georgia.
This started in 15 states earlier, and was expanded to 12 more today, including Georgia.
It's a solution to a problem that affects more than 1.6 million uninsured Georgians who may avoid filling prescriptions simply because they can't afford it...but the effort doesn't necessarily mean all pharmacies will be on board.
Emma Parks has to take eight different prescriptions every day...and before she got on Medicare, she was paying more than $600 a month just for her medicine.
"It's hard for people on fixed income, on disability," she said.
Only two of Emma's drugs are on the list of more than 300 drugs covered by Wal-Mart's new $4 generic prescription program, but she says it still makes a huge difference.
"It'll help me with my gas coming down here to pick my medicine up," she said.
The program launched on Thursday in 12 states across the country, including 139 Wal-Mart stores in the Peach State.
Many in the community say this move has been long overdue for the millions of Georgians who are struggling to keep up with the high cost of prescription drugs...and are too often forced to do without.
"So many people have to make decisions on whether to buy their medication or provide for their family...some even worry about whether they're going to be able to have a meal or not," said Commissioner Marion Williams. "But this $4 prescription is going to make a great difference in a lot of lives."
Pharmacist Jessica Pulliam says she sees it every day.
"We always have people come in with a long list of medications and they want to know which ones are the most beneficial because they can't afford them all," she said.
Under the plan, 25% of the most commonly prescribed drugs at Wal-Mart will be included in the program, from cholesterol, diabetes and even allergy medications.
Many are hoping Wal-Mart's move will push competing pharmacies to do the same, making healthcare more affordable for everyone.
"Companies know they'll lose customers and they're going to have to watch it...it may be Pandora's Box we want to open," Williams said.
Either way, worrying about how to pay for her medications is a burden Emma doesn't have to carry on her shoulders anymore.
Target plans on matching Wal-Mart's competitive rates, but only in 12 states, including Georgia.
Walgreens tells us they don't plan on matching the promotion, because they feel they already provide the best value for their customers.
This development might encourage fewer people to use their prescription plans to avoid paying those co-pays, which are usually more than four dollars.
Wal-Mart originally launched the $4 prescription plan in Florida.
As of today, 12 other states have been added, including Georgia and Alabama. That makes a total of 27 states that offer the program.
The program is not currently available in South Carolina.
You can see the other states where Wal-Mart offers cheap drugs highlighted in blue:
With this latest expansion, the program now covers over 2500 stores across the US.
Wal-Mart $4 Prescription Plan Georgia Fact Sheet
Fact sheet about Wal-Mart's $4 Prescription Plan in Georgia.
Drugs covered under Wal-Mart's $4 Prescription Plan
Full list of generic drugs available at Wal-Mart in Georgia for $4.
Details about Wal-Mart's Affordable Healthcare program
Details about the $4 prescription plan that Wal-Mart is bringing to Georgia.