BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As part of its ongoing commitment to providing more affordable healthcare for America's working families, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced that it will make nearly 300 generic drugs available for only $4 per prescription for up to a 30-day supply at commonly prescribed dosages. The program, to be launched on Friday, will be available to customers and associates of the 65 Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market and Sam's Club pharmacies in Tampa Bay, Fla. area, and will be expanded to the entire state in January 2007. "Each day in our pharmacies we see customers struggle with the cost of prescription drugs," said Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr. "By cutting the cost of many generics to $4, we are helping to ensure that our customers and associates get the medicines they need at a price they can afford. That's a real solution for our nation's working families." Key components of the program include: * The $4 pricing will be available to all pharmacy customers with a prescription from a doctor that can be filled with a covered generic medicine. * This program will be available to the uninsured. * Insurance will be accepted. * The program presently covers 291 generic medications from many of the most common therapeutic categories. * The medicines represented are used to treat and manage conditions including allergies, cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Some antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and prescription vitamins are also included. * The program will be available statewide in Florida in January 2007. * Wal-Mart intends to take the program to as many states as possible next year. "Competition and market forces have been absent from our healthcare system, and that has hurt working families tremendously," Scott said. "We are excited to take the lead in doing what we do best -- driving costs out of the system -- and passing those savings to our customers and associates." The program will help alleviate a major challenge for seniors who have fallen into the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and now find themselves responsible for paying 100 percent of their prescription medicine costs. "This act of good corporate citizenship will help consumers manage healthcare costs, while benefiting Florida's growing population," said Florida Governor Jeb Bush. "In addition to providing a great service, Wal-Mart is encouraging important conversations between patients and their doctors about the cost savings associated with generic prescriptions. I am pleased Wal-Mart chose Florida to launch this initiative where our large population of seniors will greatly benefit." "Fifty-bucks for a year's supply of prescription drugs is a pretty darn good deal for consumers," said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), an outspoken proponent of giving people access to lower-cost prescriptions. "Because Wal- Mart has the ability to shape the market, maybe other retailers will follow suit." In addition, the program provides a solution for the nearly 2.7 million uninsured Floridians who may also avoid filling prescriptions and remain untreated. Wal-Mart estimates that the program will save the state's Medicaid program hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. In announcing the program, Bill Simon, executive vice president of the Professional Services Division for Wal-Mart, noted that purchasing a 30-day supply of the popular diabetes drug, Metformin, for $4 represents a nearly 50 percent savings from the cost of the brand name version of the drug. In addition, purchasing a 30-day supply of the brand name blood-pressure drug typically costs $12. Getting the generic, Lisinopril, for $4 saves customers nearly $100 annually. "These are medicines for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, colds and infections -- the kinds of medicines that working families need so they can treat illness, manage conditions and stay well," said Simon. "Rising healthcare costs are eating up more and more of families' budgets, so this program brings a lot of value to our customers, associates and communities." Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their "brand- name" counterparts and are equally effective, but cost significantly less. Consumers interested in saving money on prescriptions through the program should ask their doctor if a generic is available for their prescription and is right for them. At this time, the $4 prescriptions are not available by mail order and are available on-line only for in-person pickup in the Tampa Bay, Fla. area. Not all generics in each therapeutic category are included. For further information on the program, customers can call 1-800-WALMART or visit their Tampa area Wal-Mart, Neighborhood Market or Sam's Club to discuss the program with their pharmacist or pick up a brochure that explains program details. About Wal-Mart Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUB locations in the United States. The company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company's securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Arca, formerly the Pacific Stock Exchange, under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartfacts.com . Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com . NOTE: Coverage of Wal-Mart's news conference and a b-roll package will be available for broadcast media outlets beginning at 2 p.m. EDT today. The satellite coordinates are: Galaxy 3C, Transponder C23 Journalists can also view and download the coverage of the news conference and b-roll package at http://www.walmartfacts.com .
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.