314 drugs just got cheaper in Ohio. Wal-Mart announced yesterday that it is bringing it's $4 prescription offer to 12 more states. Other pharmacies have followed suit, parading discount plans of their own. Some Ohio drug stores are even offering prescriptions for free. ideastream's Elaine Falk has more.
When the $4 Wal-Mart offer first appeared in Florida three weeks ago, the goal was to expand next year. But Wal-Mart says the plan is in such demand, they decided to roll it out early. Elyria Wal-Mart Pharmacist Lisa Perry says she was getting asked about the program every day.
Lisa Perry: Everyday - everyday that I work, I see customers that come in and run up 3, 4, $500 prescription tabs. Some choose just to do away with them, they can't afford them, it comes down to that or putting food on the table.
Other chains are now rolling out deep discounts of their own. Target, who followed suit when Wal-Mart first announced their plan, also expanded their $4 deal to Ohio yesterday. K-Mart has offered a similar plan in Ohio since June, with 90-day supplies costing as little as $15. Meanwhile, Ohio Meijer supermarkets announced this week they're offering free generic antibiotics to anyone with a prescription. Giant Eagle also announced a free antibiotic pilot program in Toledo stores, yesterday. They say they may bring the deal to Northeast Ohio as well.
Warren Zickler: There's diabetic drugs. Yeah, I recognize a few, definitely.
Diabetic Warren Zickler says he spends roughly $300 a year on his prescriptions. But he sees a few of his drugs are cheaper on the Wal-Mart list.
Warren Zickler: If a company like Wal-Mart will use other things as the profit center, and get us the drugs as we need, that's a great service.
Wal-Mart estimates the drugs on its discount list represent 25% of all generic prescriptions ordered nationwide. Critics of the discount offers point out they only cover generic drugs, the cheapest prescriptions on the market. Consumers still have to cover the cost of expensive name brand drugs. I'm Elaine Falk, 90.3 News.