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As Pharmacy Wars Heat Up, Walmart+ Uses Steep Discounts on Medications to Compete

Walmart
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Walmart is aggressively expanding its healthcare offerings through the new Walmart+ Rx for less program, which will offer paid Walmart+ members select medications at no cost and discounts of up to 85% on thousands of additional prescription items. The covered medications cover a variety of common needs, including heart health, mental health, antibiotics, allergies and diabetes management.

Walmart+ members can choose to use the prescription discount program instead of their insurance benefits by presenting their pharmacy savings card, along with a valid prescription, at any Walmart Pharmacy location. Walmart+ member discounts also can be applied to online prescriptions that are transferred to the Walmart Pharmacy.

Walmart+ Rx for less builds on the $4 generics program Walmart Pharmacy launched in 2006. The new program is administered by MedImpact, a  pharmacy benefits management company.

The retailer has ambitious plans for its healthcare operations: it opened a primary care clinic in September 2019; acquired assets from CareZone, a mobile app designed to help individuals and families manage medicine and chronic illness, in June 2020; and more recently helped distribute the COVID vaccine and provided customers with proof of vaccination.

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The pharmacy benefits also could help Walmart+ better compete with Amazon Prime. The program has been an early success — 11% of Americans reportedly became subscribers within two weeks of its launch — and Walmart is seeking to drive further enrollment through benefits such as free next-day and two-day shipping.

“We’re designing Walmart+ to be the ultimate life hack for our customers,” said Janey Whiteside, EVP and Chief Customer Officer of Walmart U.S. in a statement. “It’s been our commitment from the beginning to continue to grow the suite of benefits we offer Walmart+ members. We know we can use our size and scale to help simplify things for our customers in a way only we can.”

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