Thursday, January 08, 2009

Free: The Best Price Anybody Can Ask For

WASHINGTON POST -- Giant Food stores will give free generic antibiotics to customers with a prescription for the next three months in what retail experts called an aggressive move in supermarkets' heated battle for shoppers. The pharmacy business has become increasingly competitive since Wal-Mart began offering nearly 300 generic prescription drugs for just $4 in 2006. Its rivals were forced to follow suit, with Giant lowering 90-day supplies of popular drugs to $9.99 this summer.

Still, several experts said Giant's announcement yesterday was the first time they had heard of a retailer literally giving away prescription drugs.

"I think it's a gutsy move," said Ron Paul, president of food consulting firm Technomic. "Free is the best price anybody can ask for."

MP: I guess the only thing better would be a negative price, where you get the merchandise for free, along with some free cash.


At 1/08/2009 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. It also shows what a farce the $25 co-pay is for most prescriptions. Customers often don't realize they're paying a $25 co-pay on prescriptions that private pay customers are picking up for a few bucks.

At 1/08/2009 6:40 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

"...Ron Paul, president Technomic"

Is that the same Ron Paul candidate for POTUS?

At 1/08/2009 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before anyone brings it up, I will proactively note that I acknowledge that capitalism allows poor people to be free riders to some extent.

As one who often takes advantage of retailer loss leaders, this reality was hard to not notice. (Although I'm sure most are oblivious to it.)

At 1/08/2009 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have been reading and enjoying your blog every day for a long time. Imagine my surprise today when I was browsing through the fall 2008 Cretin Traditions, and discovered you were a 71 grad of that fine institution.

Keep up the good work.

Cretin Class of '77

At 1/08/2009 8:46 PM, Blogger save_the_rustbelt said...

The retailers know that anyone showing up to pick up a free Rx will:

1) likely also fill more expensive prescriptions at the same store

2) spend $XX for chips, beer, magazine, candy bars and whatever

Smart marketing at little cost.

At 1/09/2009 2:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Eddie Lampert eyeing H&R Block?


At 1/09/2009 5:36 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

This is being done without the  bureaucracy that would accompany a government program. No laws. No enforcement. No under-secretary of low-priced prescriptions. No assistant to the under-secretary, ....

If capitalism can do this for prescriptions, I wonder what it can do for other medical services if consumers were allowed to shop with both price and quality in mind.

anon 6:21:
My insurance has a $25 copay for prescriptions- but I don't use my insurance when the drug is available at Walmart for $4 :) It would be great to have an HSA account for medical purchases such as this. Then my $4 purchase would be bought with b4 tax dollars.

At 1/09/2009 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giant needs to question the credentials of the alleged experts who were unaware that its next largest competitor, Publix, has been doing this for a year and a half.

At 1/10/2009 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, in the People's Republic of Minnesota, this is illegal. In fact some of the prescriptions that Target and WalMart sell for $4 cannot be sold in MN for that price.

There is a state law that prevents selling anything below cost.

At 1/10/2009 12:52 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Believe it or not, in the People's Republic of Minnesota, this is illegal.

> There is a state law that prevents selling anything below cost.

You're kidding, right?

They just elected Al friggin' Franken to the friggin' Senate.

If you can believe that, there is little of insane stupidity that can possibly go on in Minnesota which should stress your credulity.


"Al Franken is a big fat, lying, self-aggrandizing charlatan".

At 1/10/2009 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bob!

Why hasn't capitalism made housing affordable, especially at the low end?

At 1/10/2009 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Boomer.

Left to capitalism, housing probably would be more affordable. But with government creatures like VA and FHA insurance, Freddie, Fannie and coercion to make loans to less than creditworthy borrowers - i.e. throwing money at the problem - the result is not only the bad loans that everyone talks about but higher prices for all.

At 1/12/2009 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not new. Meijer stores were giving away antibiotics when the whole $4 first started to spread.


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