Meijer pharmacy fills 20 millionth free prescription

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer pharmacies marked a milestone in June when one of the retailer's pharmacists dispensed the 20 millionth free customer prescription through its free prescription program.

The program — a first of its kind when launched in October 2006 — has since saved Meijer customers more than $284 million, said Nat Love, VP of drug store for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer.

"Meijer is a family-owned company committed to meeting the needs of other families. We do this by providing positive solutions to everyday problems, which can include access to necessary medications," Love said. "We began our free prescription program with that in mind, and are pleased that so many families across the Midwest have found it valuable."   

The retailer's free prescription program helps ensure the health of families and individuals by enabling Meijer customers, regardless of insurance or co-pay, to have their prescriptions filled. The program began by covering oral general antibiotics, with a special focus on the prescriptions most often filled for children. The program expanded over the years by offering free prenatal vitamins in May 2008; Metformin, the most commonly prescribed drug for Type 2 diabetes, in 2010; and the generic substitute for Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), the cholesterol lowering medication, in 2012.  

The most popular free prescription filled at Meijer has been a generic cholesterol lowering medication, which helped grow the program by more than 50% last year, Love said. Last year, Meijer pharmacy customers filled 1.75 million atorvastatin calcium prescriptions, followed by more than 1.5 million antibiotics, more than 918,000 Metformin, and more than 518,000 free prenatal vitamin prescriptions.

In addition to the free prescription program, Meijer pharmacies have continued to expand the clinical services they offer customers. In 2013, clinical services — such as immunizations, medication management and health screenings — were up 44%. Specially-trained pharmacist care coaches —located in 210 pharmacies in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky — often work with physicians and patients on an on-going basis to improve the patient's overall health and self-management abilities. The goal is to help patients establish health goals and create a personalized healthcare action plan that can significantly reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency-room visits.

"We're proud that we've helped millions of families improve their health and wellness without impacting their budgets," said co-chairman Hank Meijer. "Providing low-cost solutions for the customers who rely on our pharmacies is part of our commitment to the communities we serve."

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