Retail News Breaks
Wal-Mart goes national with free Rx mail delivery
September 15th, 2009
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is rolling out free mail delivery nationwide for 90-day supplies of certain generic prescription drugs.
The discount giant said Tuesday that it was expanding the program across its market area, enabling consumers to get affordable prescriptions whether or not they live near a Wal-Mart or a Sam's Club pharmacy.
Consumers can order three-month supplies of about 300 generics for $10 each and have them delivered free via mail by calling 1-800-2REFILL or by going online to walmart.com/pharmacy.
"Wal-Mart's $4 generic drug program has helped so many patients afford their medication needs, but unfortunately we've found there are still too many patients unable to take advantage of our low prices because they are home-bound or live too far from a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club pharmacy," John Agwunobi, president of Walmart's health and wellness division, said in a statement. "With this program, we're able to provide consumers in every rural town or big city across America with more affordable prescription medicines through a convenient, free mail delivery system."
Besides offering a list of generics, the free mail delivery program also provides access to more than 3,000 other brand-name and generic drugs, the company added.
In May, Wal-Mart held a successful pilot of the free mail delivery program in Michigan and then expanded it to 22 states and Washington, D.C., in mid-August.
The program comes at a time when a rising number of Americans, especially those without health insurance, are seeking more affordable health care options as the recession continues to squeeze their household budgets and foster uncertainty about jobs. It also enhances Wal-Mart's standing as a health destination as the health care reform debate commands a national spotlight.
"Our $10 mail delivery prescription program is a true reflection of Wal-Mart's commitment to drive unnecessary costs out of the health care system so Americans can live healthier, better lives," Agwunobi commented.
In addition, as pharmacy business continues to help offset slow sales in the front end of the store, the free mail delivery initiative gives Wal-Mart more ammunition to take on the leading drug chains.
Wal-Mart's annual pharmacy sales are estimated at $19.6 billion, making it No. 3 behind Walgreen Co. ($39.3 billion) and CVS Caremark Corp. ($33 billion) in pharmacy dollar volume, according to research by Racher Press, publisher of Chain Drug Review. In terms of number of pharmacies, Wal-Mart is the No. 4 chain with about 4,150, behind CVS (6,981), Walgreens (6,892) and Rite Aid Corp. (4,825).
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