Albany -- Wal-Mart announces a program to lower prices of generic prescription drugs. Small Southwest Georgia pharmacies say Wal-Mart is trying to run them out of business.
The world's largest retailer is slashing the price of many generic prescription drugs to only $4.00 a month. Wal-Mart says they want to lower the cost of health care in America with competition.
But smaller Southwest Georgia pharmacies say Wal-Mart is just trying to wipe out the competition.
Wal-Mart is launching it's new generic prescription drug program in Tampa Bay, but says it intends to take the program to as many states as possible by next year. The discount giant will sell nearly 300 generic drugs for four dollars per prescription for a 30 day supply.
They include medicine to treat asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, even antibiotics and antidepressants. Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, Junior said "Competition and market forces have been absent from our healthcare system, and that has hurt working families tremendously."
Independent pharmacist David Hays of Hays Pharmacy says generic drugs are 80% of his sales, and Wal-Mart is trying to put him out of business. "Absolutely. Wal-Mart wants business to cease, or competition for them to cease and desist. And when you have three or four thousand stores like Wal-Mart has, they can do that."
U-Save-It Drugs has several stores across Georgia. Pharmacist Gary Phillips says their company is growing because of customer service, and Wal-Mart does not bother them. Phillips says, "Bring it on."
Wal-Mart says they think their reduced pricing will save customers up to 70% on some drugs. Target, the nation's second largest discount chain, announced they would match Wal-Mart's reduced drug prices, which could set up price competition benefiting consumers greatly.
David Hays says the retail giants are just trying to take over more market share and you will pay more later. "It will make it very difficult for me and other smaller or chain pharmacies to stay in business."
Hays says when the smaller pharmacies are out of business, the larger chains will raise their prices, and the consumer will have no alternative to shop.