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    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.”

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.

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    • Anonymous
      The single most unprofessional trend that has ever occurred. Wal-mart should be ashamed for starting this mess of treating medication like it is some type of commodity like gasoline or milk. It has cheapened the profession and linked it to our societal lowest common denominator-------money. Lowest price wins. Thanks Wal-Mart for starting the downward death spiral.