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Target stores to
offer $4 generic meds in all its pharmacies

Target stores to
offer $4 generic meds in all its pharmacies

Target expanded its $4 generic-drug program to all of its U.S. pharmacies on Monday, not just in states where it has been matching a plan offered by rival Wal-Mart.

Target said all of its 1,287 pharmacies across the United States would now offer some generic drugs at $4 for a 30-day supply. The discount retailer had previously matched the list of drugs being sold for $4 at Wal-Mart but only in states where Wal-Mart was offering the plan.

Now Target is selling $4 generic drugs in nine states where Wal-Mart has not yet rolled out its program: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Wal-Mart also has not yet introduced its program in Hawaii, North Dakota, or Wyoming, but Target does not sell drugs in those states.

Target also said that it is charging more for certain drugs--such as cholesterol drugs lovastatin and pravastatin--and some dosages of other drugs in 10 states due to state law.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, started selling certain generic drugs for $4 per prescription in Florida in September. Since then, Wal-Mart has brought the $4 drugs to 37 more states and said it plans to extend the plan to additional states as fast as it can.

Wal-Mart has also added more drugs to its list, such as pravastatin, a generic form of Bristol-Myers Squibb's cholesterol drug Pravachol.

The cut-price drugs are now available in 3,009 Wal-Mart pharmacies. Wal-Mart has about 3,960 U.S. stores.

When Wal-Mart announced the $4 plan in September, it drove down shares of generic-drug makers, pharmacy-benefit managers, and drugstore chains such as Walgreens and CVS.

The drugstore companies and analysts have said they see little threat from Wal-Mart's plan, noting that cash prescriptions--or those customers who don't have insurance to help defray the cost of prescriptions--account for only a small portion of their profits.

Shares of Minneapolis-based Target, which operates 1,494 stores in 47 U.S. states, was up 4 cents to $58.26 on the New York Stock Exchange, while shares of Wal-Mart rose 48 cents to $47.98.

Target has pharmacies in 45 U.S. states. It does not operate pharmacies at its stores in North Dakota or Wyoming and does not have any stores in Alaska, Hawaii, or Vermont, a spokeswoman said. (Reuters)

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