Local and statewide residents can now save money on generic drug costs. Almost mirroring a Wal-Mart plan launched in Tampa, Fla. almost two months ago, Giant is using its Super Giant Delaware stores as a test for a $3.99 generic drug plan.
Anyone, prescription-buyers do not have to qualify, can buy one-month supplies of more than 300 generic drugs for $3.99, a Super Giant pharmacist said. Some exceptions may apply, such as for drugs for which a month’s supply requires 60 tablets. Tom Campione, a pharmacist and pharmacy manager at Millville’s Super Giant, estimated the least amount of savings through the new program at $4-5 for a month’s supply.
“We have responded to competition and we’re offering the generic drugs at $3.99,” Giant Spokesman Barry Scher said. “Elsewhere we’re taking a wait-and-see attitude.”
Giant has stores in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware but is testing the program only at Super Giant’s in Delaware, Scher said. Campione said patients there have already responded positively to the program.
“Anything that can help people is a good thing,” Campione said, adding that the new program benefits both young and old generic drug customers. Campione said that the generic drugs on the list are tested just as rigorously as the brand name drugs. “People seem very pleased,” he added. “It’s really helpful for people even with the new Medicare Part D.”
Part D patients enter into a “Donut Hole” when they reach a certain dollar amount, where they must pay the full cost of coverage until reaching another, higher amount, Campione said. According to www.medicareadvocacy.org, standard Part D plans cover patients’ prescription bills up to $2,250, where it leaves patients to pay the full cost of prescriptions. Coverage does not pick back up, according to the Web site, until patients “incur” $3,600 in “out-of-pocket costs for drugs on their Part D formulary.”
But while the program is a major benefit for older patients, who might be on Medicare and possibly a fixed income, it is just as beneficial for younger customers, Campione reiterated.
“People are coming in asking about it,” Campione said Monday, standing behind his counter at the Super Giant pharmacy where the program is touted on a plain white sign. “I think it’s a good idea.”
Wal-Mart first launched its similar, $4 generic drug plan on Sept. 21 at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Tampa, Fla. After experiencing success there, the retail giant expanded the $4 plan on Oct. 19 to Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. The Wal-Mart plan offers 30-day supplies of 314 drugs for $4.