Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Free Market Success

The relatively free market continues to save money for consumers, this time in pharmaceutical expenses:
Wal-Mart Claims $4 Generics Have Saved Consumers $1 Billion

Wal-Mart's doing a bit of chest thumping this morning, claiming that its $4 generics program has saved consumers $1 billion — $1,032,573,012.61 as of March 10, to be precise.

The company says the $4 drugs now account for 40% of all prescriptions filled at its stores, adding that nearly 30% of the cheap prescriptions are purchased without insurance.

Wal-Mart breaks down the program by state, with the top savers being Texas ($132,628,224), Florida ($72,443,467) and North Carolina ($48,241,530).

The baseline figures the company used to calculate total savings are the average Wal-Mart price of each generic drug before the program launched. The calculations don't include the prices of branded (and much more expensive) drugs, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman told the Health Blog.

The ripple effects of the program may have driven additional consumer savings, the company pointed out. Competitors including Kroger and Target followed Wal-Mart with their own $4 generics programs.
If the partially free market we have in the US can benefit patients this much, think of how much a fully free market could benefit all of us. (Via David Catron.)