Wal-Mart threw the opening salvo: $4 prescriptions for more than 300 drugs, all of them generic substitutes.

Yesterday, Mark Murray, president of Meijer, announced that anyone could take a prescription for more than 70 generic antibiotics to their Meijer pharmacy, and the prescription would be free.

Meijer, a retail grocery story and pharmacy based in Grand Rapids, Mi., has 176 stores in the midwest, including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.

According to the press release, the “no-strings attached program means that any customer, regardless of insurance or co-pay, can take their prescription to any Meijer pharmacy and receive their designated antibiotic free of charge. There is no card required, no membership to purchase, no minimal charges, no special forms to fill out and no fees to pay.”

While 94 percent of Meijer customers have some form of insurance coverage, they may still have drug co-pays. This program eliminates all fees.

You can read the press release here: www.meijer.com/about/pr_pages/antibiotics.asp

What’s next? Is Costco going to pay us to get our prescriptions at their pharmacy? One can only hope that’s the next step for consumers.

A final thought: Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin are three states hurting in the changing real estate market. It’s possible that between global warming and free prescriptions, Indiana and Michigan could see a turnaround.

Oct. 24, 2006