Wal-Mart Prescription Program Starts

Hector Sabat
Hector Sabat
Francis Carpel
Francis Carpel
James McElhaney
James McElhaney

(KHNL) - Some prescription drugs will now be a lot cheaper.

Wal-Mart is lowering the price for 331 prescriptions. But this cut in costs is a difficult pill to swallow for some island pharmacies.

If you have to pay for your prescription, a trip to the pharmacy can be painful.

Just ask Hector Sabat, who comes to the Pillbox Pharmacy every month.

"Monthly, I pay about 50 bucks, but i also have to pick up my wife's medications at 250 to 300 dollar a month," says the Kaimuki resident.

No matter where you shop, most customers agree - pills are pricey!

"400 dollars for two prescriptions for 30 days, that's a lot of money!" says Francis Carpel, a Wal-Mart customer.

And at Wal-Mart stores in Hawaii, hundreds of generic prescriptions are now available for just four dollars each.

That sounds like good news for customers, until you ask pharmacist James McElhaney, who says this new program will create confusion for customers.

"It is a classic bait and switch for well meaning people, when they come in to get their medicine for 4 bucks and then they are told sorry," according to this Kaimuki pharmacist.

Not every prescription is four dollars, only approved generic ones on Wal-Mart's list.

Local pharmacies admit they can't beat Wal-Mart's four dollar prices for approved prescriptions, but they claim you get more than just drugs with your prescription fill-up at smaller pharmacies.

That's what keeps Sabat coming back to the Pillbox, the service of a small pharmacy.

"They're asking questions, taking time, explaining side effects, they're very good," he says.

While he doesn't want to get his prescription filled anywhere else, others may check out Wal-Mart's low cost plan, and many island pharmacies are expecting a drop in customers.

The discounted prescriptions will be available at all Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pharmacies statewide.