Wal-Mart Speeds Up Prescription Program Rollout

Expanding $4 offer to 14 more states

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- In a move that could do to pharmacies what its gasoline pumps have done to the retail gas station/convenience store industry and what its supercenters have done to grocery stores, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that it is rolling out its $4 generic prescription program in 14 additional states, starting yesterday.

The program will be now be available in an additional 1,264 stores throughout Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and [image-nocss] Vermont.

The program was launched in 235 Florida pharmacies in early October.

Wal-Mart originally planned to introduce the program in as many states as possible beginning in 2007, but customer demand led the company to accelerate the launch, it said.

Since we began the program in September, we've been committed to bringing it to other states as soon as possible, said Wal-Mart President and CEO Lee Scott. Customers have told us again and again how valuable the $4 generic prescription program is. So we're thrilled that we can respond in a way that cuts costs out of the system and brings more affordable medicines to our customers. This program is making a real difference in the health of our customers and our communities.

The $4 generics program includes 314 generic prescriptions available for up to a 30-day supply at commonly prescribed dosages. The list of 314 generic prescriptions is made up of as many as 143 compounds in 24 therapeutic categories. Wal-Mart estimates that the list of $4 prescription medications represents nearly 25% of prescriptions that it currently dispenses in its pharmacies nationwide.

In making the announcement, Bill Simon, executive vice president of the Professional Services Division for Wal-Mart, said the response in Florida has been considerable, with 88,235 new prescriptions filled in the 10 days after the October 6, 2006 rollout.

The Bentonville, Ark., mega-retailer has also long been interested in getting into banking.