Cool Ideas

Grocery Store Prescription Programs Offer Big Savings

by Stephanie Nelson

Most parents make several trips to the pharmacy each year to fill prescriptions for their children. Between ear infections, strep throat, and allergies, the cost of prescriptions can really add up. Fortunately, grocery stores and drugstores recognize that they can help shoppers and gain their loyalty by providing cost-saving programs to help shoppers save money on common medicines.

Last fall Wal-Mart introduced a new prescription program that offers shoppers a specific list of generic drugs at a flat price of $4 per 30-day prescription. Today the program covers hundreds of drugs. You can visit Wal-Mart's website to see the complete list.

At the same time, Meijer stores in Michigan paved the way by offering a free antibiotic program at their 176 stores, giving 14-day supplies of seven common generic antibiotics most frequently prescribed to children. Importantly, this free program is available to customers who have prescription drug insurance as well, saving them the cost of their traditional prescription co-pay. Meijer officials estimated their list of free antibiotics covers 70% of their antibiotic prescriptions filled for children.

Publix, a leading grocery store chain in the Southeast with 684 pharmacy locations, announced in August 2007 that they would provide free14-day supplies of the generic version of seven common antibiotics. Publix officials estimated that half of all of their generic antibiotic prescriptions filled for children are included in this list of seven antibiotics. However, the program is available to customers of all ages regardless of income level or insurance coverage status.

Other retailers have started offering similar pricing programs for the same list of generic drugs. Target offers $4 30-day prescriptions on the same list of drugs, Kmart offers $15 prescriptions for 90-day supplies of 300 selected generic drugs, and many grocery stores (such as Kroger) will match generic prices when asked by the customer. Be sure to ask your grocery store what their regular price of the generic drug is before you request that they match the $4 price-in some cases the retailer's cost may be lower than $4!

Stephanie Nelson shares her savings tips as a regular contributor on ABCNews.com. You can find more of her savings tips in her book "The Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom" and on her website at www.couponmom.com

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