Vermont part of Wal-Mart drug expansion

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Wal-Mart, the giant retailer, is expanding a low-cost prescription drug program to 14 more states, and one of those is Vermont.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Company representatives explained their discount drug plan at the Wal-Mart store in Williston.

Under the new plan, the retailer offers 314 generic drug prescriptions for $4 each.

That covers the cost of a month’s supply.

Chris Buchanan is a vice president of public relations at Wal Mart.

(Buchanan) “The $4 program provides a solution for the more than 70,000 uninsured Vermonters who may presently avoid, quite frankly, filling prescriptions due to the cost and remain untreated. We estimate the program will save the state’s Medicaid program hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.”

(Dillon) Critics of the Wal-Mart plan says it’s a way for the company to corner a bigger share of the drug business by undercutting its competition.

In an interview, Buchanan said the company is committed to providing the lowest possible price.

(Buchanan) “I can’t speak for other retailers, or other pharmacies. I can only speak for our company to what we’re doing here today, which is trying to offer a solution to the health care crisis we have in this country, and obviously to reduce the price of prescription drugs we’re doing here today.”

(Dillon) Wal-Mart first rolled out the drug plan in Florida two weeks ago.

The company originally planed to expand it to other states next year, but it said it moved up the schedule because of customer demand.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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