Libratto

Thoughts on science, medicine and health

Wal-Mart’s $4 Generics: What to Do If Your Drug Isn’t Covered

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For many patients, Wal-Mart’s $4 generics program is a pretty good deal. And the plan to expand the program to most of the country means even more Americans will benefit. Still better: some stores are offering generic drugs for coughs and colds for free!

But there are some limitations. In addition to the caveats I’ve noted before, Wal-Mart’s list doesn’t come close to covering all available generics. In fact, for patients with a number of conditions – anxiety, depression, and high cholesterol — the Wal-Mart list is pretty thin. In addition, the Wal-Mart list excludes oral contraceptives.

What to do if you’re a patient with one of these conditions? Consider an alternative program, such as Rx Outreach. Patients who use Rx Outreach get a 90-day supply from a high-quality mail-order pharmacy located in the United States. (Express Scripts, the company behind Rx Outreach, also runs the prescription drug program used by the U.S. Department of Defense as well as several large U.S. employers.) Most drugs cost $20, including shipping and handling; some drugs are $30.

Although it sounds more expensive, it’s really not. A 90-day supply for $20 comes to a bit less than $7 for a 30-day supply. And the drugs are delivered to your door, so you don’t spend time and money driving to Wal-Mart (remember: you’ll have to make three round trips to Wal-Mart to get 90-days worth of medications) or buying things you might not need while you’re there.

More importantly, there are several drugs included in Rx Outreach that aren’t on the Wal-Mart list. Here are some of the highlights. (Brand names of the drugs are shown, with the generic name in parentheses.)

DRUGS NOT ON WAL-MART’S $4 GENERIC LIST BUT AVAILABLE THROUGH RX OUTREACH

Anxiety
Ativan (lorazepan)
Valium (diazepam)
Xanax (alprazolam)
BuSpar (buspirone tab) *

Depression
Celexa (citalopram) *
Paxil (paroxetine) *
Zoloft (sertraline)
Amitryptyline *
Pamelor (nortryptyline) *

Cholesterol
Mevacor (lovastatin) *
Gemfibrozil

Oral Contraceptives
Ortho-Cyclen
Ortho-Tri-Cyclen

* specific doses not on the Wal-Mart list but available through Rx Outreach

One wrinkle: Rx Outreach is available only to those patients whose income falls below a certain level (depending on family size). You’ll need to visit the Rx Outreach website to see whether you qualify.

Written by Bob Nease

October 26, 2006 at 11:06 pm

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