Publix Super Markets has filled the 100 millionth prescription under its free medication program.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix announced the pharmacy milestone on Thursday. Launched in 2007, Publix Pharmacy’s free prescription drug program offers 14-day supplies of selected generic antibiotics and 90-day supplies of generic maintenance medications for hypertension and diabetes at no charge.
“We are proud to provide a service that helps our customers afford their medications. As the cost of health care continues to rise, this program has become even more important to our customers and our communities,” Dain Rusk, vice president of pharmacy at Publix, said in a statement.
To get the designated medications for free, Publix Pharmacy patients just need to provide the pharmacist with a prescription for drugs covered in the program, and they will be filled at no cost. Publix noted that there’s no limit on the number of free prescriptions, and the medications are provided at no charge regardless of a patient’s insurance coverage.
Antibiotics available under the free medication program include amoxicillin, ampicillin, SMZ-TMP (tablets only) and penicillin VK. Free maintenance medicines include amlodipine (high blood pressure), metformin (diabetes) and lisinopril (high blood pressure and diabetes). Some medications are available free only under certain dosages.
Publix, which operates more than 1,000 in-store pharmacies, said lower out-of-pocket costs help patients to stay on their prescription drug regimens, improving health care outcomes. The company cited a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that free medications significantly improved adherence to prescriptions by patients who previously couldn’t afford their medicines.
A frequently cited 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that medication nonadherence results in more than 125,000 deaths and $100 million in health care costs, Publix added.
“Too often, high prescription costs prevent people from taking medication as prescribed,” according to Rusk. “When medications are free or available at a greatly reduced cost, that barrier is lifted, and our customers can get the care they need.”
Also to help make key medicines more affordable, Publix offers a low-cost prescription program that provides 90-day supplies of commonly prescribed medications for $7.50. Drugs available via the program include generic treatments for cholesterol, heart/cardiovascular health, diabetes, mental health, arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, seizure disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, gout, asthma and allergies, and men’s and women’s health.
Overall, Publix operates 1,239 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.