Wal-Mart Announces New Plan For Discount Drugs

Wal-Mart officials say that by next year, they have plans to make nearly 300 generic prescription drugs available to customers across the nation, for only four dollars.

Last week, Wal-Mart announced plans for four dollar generic prescription drugs starting at stores in the Tampa, Florida region with plans to expand to the rest of the country by next year. This week in Eastern Kentucky, news of the announcement has caused celebration among some customers, including those without insurance, and those with gaps in their Medicare Part D coverage.

"There's drugs you can't get, I can't pay for. So that would really help, it really would," said Grace Harness.

But not everyone is a fan of Wal-Mart's four dollar prescriptions for a 30 day supply. Some local independently owned pharmacies say the low prices and affordable health care are great for their patients, but worry Wal-Mart will push the mom and pop stores out of business.

"Some generics, month supply cost more than four dollars, so it's just difficult to compete," said Todd Hall with Knott Prescription Center.

"Once they push the little man out, they're gonna raise their prices right back up. So I don't want to see it happen," said Eddie Chaffins.

Eddie Chaffins says he saves just as much money on gas as he would on the drugs by staying at his local pharmacy.

Which begs the question, why are these drugs so expensive to begin with. Doctor and State Senator Daniel Mongiardo says he knows why.

"There is a lot of markup, but there's a lot of cost in bringing these drugs to market in the first place. What we need to do is make it easier for these companies to bring safe drugs to the market," Mongiardo said.

Mongiardo says prescription and health care costs are rising, but maybe customers will have more options, even if it is next year.

Wal-Mart officials say among the nearly 300 generic prescription drugs they hope to make available in Kentucky next year are medicines for allergies, cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes.

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