Wal-Mart Rx Drug Plan Launches In TN

Knoxville (WVLT) - We often hear senior citizens say they must choose between buying food and buying their prescription medications.

So could a new generic drug program be the answer?

Starting Tuesday November 28th, Wal-Mart is expanding its four dollar generic drug offer to Tennessee.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard takes a look at the program, and if it will save you money.

The short answer is, maybe.

It depends on whether you take one of the 331 prescription generics on the list. And even then, you have to factor what kind of prescription coverage you have.

Wal-Mart customer Howard Smith says his prescription coverage pays for most of his medications, still at a cost of four dollars for most generics, it's something worth looking into.

"Well, I've got a pretty good drug program from the company I used to work for and I doubt I'll switch, although I might," syas Smith.

John Galyon says while he takes only one prescription, his parents take several and have the potential to save hundreds, "Probably several hundred dollars a month, cause I know they're both on several prescription drugs."

Tennessee is one of the final 11 states to be included in the program.

Wal-Mart says to date, as new states have been added to the program, 2.1 million new prescriptions have been filled in those states, as compared to the same time period last year.

Locally, Long's Drug Store Pharmacist Hank Peck says he currently dispenses many of the drugs on Wal-Mart's list for less than four dollars. "There are a lot of things that we sell for four dollars or less that are on their list, and so do a lot of other people, so it's not necessarily a new thing, it's just that they're promoting it."

In response to Wal-Mart's drug program, Walgreens issued this statement.

"Wal-Mart's limited price promotion is in response to the increasing number of seniors choosing Walgreens for their pharmacy needs. Therefore, Walgreens will not match Wal-Mart's promotion."

Similarly, at Long's it will be good old-fashioned business as usual.

"We're not out to try to promote a price image to draw traffic in from wherever, just because they want to save a nickel. We're going to give the good price, but we're also going to give the good service and the attention that they deserve," says Peck.

In response to Wal-Mart's rollout, K-Mart is reminding consumers about its 90 day generics program, in which you can purchase selected prescriptions for $15 dollars.

Target did not return our calls for comment.

This is the list of the 331 generic prescriptions covered under Wal-Mart's plan, and it includes some fairly common ones: amoxicillin, penicillin, tetracycline to name a few.