Wal-Mart continues to expand its healthcare offerings

NEW YORK Nationwide big-box chain Wal-Mart is expanding its presence in the health-care industry.

Areas of expansion include electronic prescriptions, which it hopes to increase to 8 million by the end of the year, in-store clinics and additions to its program to sell generic drugs at a discount.

Wal-Mart began offering generic drugs for $4 in September 2006, and since then, other big-box stores and supermarket chains have launched similar programs. In may, the company began offering discounts on medications for women, such as $9 for a 30-day supply or $24 for 90 days worth of the generic version of Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug. “$4 prescriptions now represent approximately 40 percent of all filled prescriptions at Wal-Mart,” said John Agwunobi, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president and president of health and wellness.

Wal-Mart’s walk-in clinics, like most in-store clinics, are designed to treat minor conditions such as colds and ear infections. Wal-Mart has clinics at 79 stores—though this is small compared with CVS’ more than 400. The company, however, has already committed to opening 400 clinics in the next three years, and could have 2,000 by 2015 by contracting with local hospitals, according to one report.

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