Remember When: The $4 generics battle was in full swing
Christi Davis Gallagher called it a billion-dollar price saver. Kevin Currans described it as a business killer. Both were talking about the generics price war detailed in August 2008 Drug Topics supplement story, “Four-dollar pricing considered boon and bust.”
The story chronicled the move by giant retailers such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target to dispense generic versions of medications for as little as $4 per prescription. Many pharmacists called the movement loss-leader pricing, and feared it would put many pharmacies out of business.
Boon or bust?
Gallagher, then the senior communications manager for Wal-Mart, told Drug Topics that the retail giant’s $4 prescription program had proven even more successful than anticipated. “Since its launch in September 2006, the program has saved Americans more than $1 billion,” she said. “To give you some perspective of how this impacts the total business, health and wellness, was 9% of our sales for fiscal year 2008.”
However, Currans, a pharmacist at an independent in Sleepy Eye, Minn., described the $4 movement as a predatory business killer. He told Drug Topics what happened after Wal-Mart opened a store 13 miles away from his store. “Business dropped overnight. I started calling customers and reminded them I’ve known them for years, go to their kids’ ball games, open at night if they need drugs after a trip to the ER. Some came back. A lot didn’t.”