Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The cost of generic drugs for employeesat the nation's largest retailer will dropsharply this year under a new arrangementthat sweetens health care benefitsfor millions of workers at Wal-Mart.

Under the plan, the copays that Wal-Mart employees will pay for generic prescriptionsfor a number of importantdrugs will drop from $10 to $3—anadjustment that will produce significantsavings on generics used in the treatmentof diabetes, hypertension, highcholesterol, and infections.

In addition to lowering copay levels forthese generic drugs, the chain is alsoreducing the waiting period for healthcoverage eligibility to 1 year and isexpanding benefits for children of part-timeemployees. Those changes weremade in response to criticism fromorganized labor groups that Wal-Mart hasbeen providing inadequate health coveragefor its workers.

In announcing the lower copays forgeneric drugs and other adjustments,officials at the chain urged other USretailers to enhance health benefits fortheir workers.