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Sunday, October 22nd 2006

HEBuddy Grabs A Lead Pipe Goes After Wal Mart

A Hardcore Corporate Mascot

Managed Care Matters has a nice article on the ensuing “peripheral” drug price war. It started with Wal Mart offering a number of drugs for $4/month. Which I commented on.

Now, the grocery chain which absolutely dominates Texas (especially my home area of South Texas where it originates from), is joining the fray (Subscription Required).

In an effort to fight off Wal-Mart’s $4 generic drug program, H-E-B announced today a new program that will offer 500 generic drugs for $5 each.

Target is getting in on it as well, as Managed Care Matters points out. As he points out as well however, the drugs offered by most of these chain pharmacies aren’t exactly the most popular,

Critics say some of the moreexpensive and most-prescribed generics did not make the list.

These include the equivalents of Zocor, Zoloft, Zithromax and Paxil, said Wendy Morphew, spokeswoman for Aetna.

“The drugs on this list don’t correlate with the high-volume, high-cost generics our members are using,” she said.

Still, insurance-company officials say that if other drugstore chains follow Wal-Mart, the move could really impact health-care costs. So far, Target has announced it will start a similar program.

As well the “number” of drugs these chains are claiming they’re providing at a discount may be misleading,

A closer look at the [Wal Mart] list shows some drugs are listed over and over again. For example, the antibiotic amoxicillin is listed 12 times, but in different dosages.

“I’m not saying it’s a bait and switch, but you’re left with 124 different drugs, which is fine, but not compared to the thousands of generic drugs out there,” said Ernest Boyd, executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association.