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Is this a growing trend????

Aug. 6, 2007, 2:08PM

Publix to Offer 7 Antibiotics for Free

Associated Press

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Publix supermarket chain said Monday it will make seven common prescription antibiotics available for free, joining other major retailers in trying to lure customers to their stores with cheap medications.

The oral antibiotics, the most commonly filled at the chain's pharmacies, will be available at no cost to anyone with a prescription as often as they need them, Publix Chief Executive Charlie Jenkins Jr. said. Fourteen-day supplies of the seven drugs will be available at all 684 of the chain's pharmacies in five Southern states.

The prescription antibiotics available under the program are amoxicillin, cephalexin, penicillin VK, erythromycin, ampicillin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim and ciprofoxacin.

Gov. Charlie Crist went to a suburban Fort Myers store to help the company make the announcement and to praise the Lakeland-based employee-owned company, one of the dominant retailers in the region.

"It can't be any more affordable than free," Crist said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kmart and other retailers already offer discounted drug programs. But Publix Super Markets Inc. officials say the company is the first large regional chain to offer certain drugs at no cost. In addition to Florida, the company operates stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

With health care costs one of the biggest challenges facing many Americans, Crist said that the private sector's involvement in the solution was "a great trend."

Jenkins acknowledged that increasing pharmacy sales was a part of the company's motivation, but said the company also wanted to contribute to making health care more affordable.

"Frankly, we're interested in building our pharmacy business," said Jenkins. "But moreover, we want to help the citizens of our state have affordable health care, and we thought this was just a good start in doing that."

Barbara Lemay, who was shopping in the Publix where Crist and the company made the announcement, said it would be a good start for her.

"I've been on antibiotics occasionally, and to get anything free with the price of medications today is phenomenal," she said. "People just can't afford the medications. You have no insurance, you're looking at hundreds of dollars a month."

Lemay, who gets Social Security benefits, said if she is prescribed one of the antibiotics she definitely would go to Publix to get it, and said it could save her "thousands of dollars."

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, secretary of Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration and a pediatrician, said many of the antibiotics are prescribed for children, and he noted that Florida has 3.6 million uninsured people and many who have some insurance but no coverage for prescription drugs.

"So I hope (Publix stores) are ready," Agwunobi said, predicting a heavy response.

Wal-Mart last year started offering hundreds of prescription drugs of all different kinds, ranging from diabetes medication to high blood pressure drugs, for $4. It hopes it can draw more shoppers into its stores who may come for prescriptions and then stay to buy in other departments.

Kmart, a unit of Sears Holding Corp., began last month offering a 90-day supply of generic drugs for $15. Now, more than 300 drugs are included in that program.
Very interesting article. At least someone in the health industry knows there is a problem. Even though they really want to to shop and spend more money in their store. Most co-pays for generic are $5 or $10 this would certainly help the senior's.
I know Meijers in selected counties where I reside give free anti-biotic prescription drugs; not sure though if these meds are pre selected or if it is for any antibiotic. A client told me about that. Not a bad deal... can't help but wonder though how these improvements will affect Part D as a whole ?!?!

Make no mistake though, there is no free bee here. Meijers must do some serious volume and they're probably paying for the cost and in exchange, certain drug companies are giving a nice kickback to them in return.

I know for a fact that CVS and Riteaide in several counties here favor certain medications and offer a much lower copay to patrons b/c they get a nice offering if they sell so much of X drugs. $$$$$$ I smell that... but it's nowhere near my vicinity...
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Drug stores, department stores (does anyone still use that term?) and grocery chains are using stealth marketing & free publicity to drive customers to their store.

Wal-Mart started with the $4 generic plan and others soon followed with similar plans. CVS, Eckerds and others now rent dead space to places like Minute Clinic. Now Publix is offering free antibiotics for kids.

Why are they doing this?

The $4 generics are break even or low loss leaders. Any chance folks will get all their meds filled there. How about the possibility of doing their back to school shopping while the Rx is being filled?

Got a minor medical emergency or need a physical for camp? Why go to the doc & wait 2 hours in a room with sick kids when you can bop down to your local CVS and get a quickie physical in 15 minutes. You might just pick up some hair care products on your way out.

Sick kid? Low on cash? Go to Publix for free antibiotic. Pick up a 6 pack for the road.

This is an extension of sampling. Something that has worked for years. Give away something at or slightly below cost and watch the customers flock to your store.

Why do you think the car dealers have hot dog & hamburger days under the big tent?

Because it works . . .
Meijers locally provide free antibiotic medication. This was posted at the Doctors office where you check out at. I believe there were 7 or so medications on the list. Just take he Rx there and it is free for up to a 14 days supply.