Beginning in 2006, the drugstore chain Meijer Pharmacy began what they called their Free Prescription Drug Program. Under this program, the company filled prescriptions for nine different medications at no cost to their customers. The drugs were certain antibiotics, certain prenatal vitamins, and, of special interest to people with diabetes, atorvastatin and metformin. Atorvastatin is widely used by people with diabetes to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood and metformin is used to improve blood sugar levels.
To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter!
The company has just announced that it will no longer be offering free prescriptions for metformin and atorvastatin. It will, however, continue to provide antibiotics and prenatal vitamins at no cost to customers. A doctor’s prescription is necessary, of course, and prescriptions must be picked up at the store in person.
In mid-2019, Meijer issued a report stating that over the life of the program, Meijer had dispensed some 50 million free prescriptions at a cost of $650 million. At the time, company vice president Jason Beauch said, “This program allows us to provide families necessary medications that best manage their health. We believe you can’t put a price on wellness, so it’s important for us to support local communities and do our part to help customers save on necessary medications and improve on their overall quality of life.”
Fortunately, metformin is not a terribly expensive drug. It normally costs about $15 a month, depending on the dosage, and some larger retailers offer discount coupons. Atorvastatin, which is available in a generic version, tends to cost more, but prices can vary depending on the store, so it’s a good idea to shop around, and, again, some retailers offer discounts and coupons. Finally, although this could change, some other retailers offer free prescriptions. Price Chopper, for example, which operates in the eastern United States, has no-cost metformin through its Diabetes AdvantEdge program, and Publix Super Markets, which is found in southern states, has also been offering free metformin prescriptions.