Supermarket Offers Free Antibiotics

Supermarket Offers Free Antibiotics
By: Mike Shain

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - You are feeling poorly, go to the doctor and she prescribes antibiotics.  You don't have insurance or can't afford the co-pay.  What do you do?  Hope there is a suitable generic because Schnucks will fill it for free.

Schucks is up front about one thing.  Like any business, it's wanting more customers.

"Make people aware that we have such a good pharmacy and bring people in," Store Manager Dennis March said.   

Schnucks offers up to a 21 day supply of the 54 most common generic oral antibiotics.
"We'll include all the penicillins which is penicillin itself, amoxicillin, ampicillin.  It includes erythromycins.  It includes doxycycline.  The generic for Septra and Bactrim which is a common name," said John Kersbergen, a pharmicist at Schnucks.
"Some of these generics run from $12.99 to $150 according to strength and how many pills you have to take.  So that's a big hit," March said. 
Even some people with insurance can't afford the co-pay so they don't get the medicine they need to get well.
"They continue to remain sick.  They have to go back to the physician or emergency room and then they'll be prescribed maybe a more potent antibiotic.  And many times these potent antibiotics will lead to organism resistance," said Kersbergen.
We're hearing much about drug resistant staph in schools and other places.  Store manager Dennis March says Scunucks may add other drugs to the plan later.
"There's no strings.  You bring in your prescription and our pharmacist will fill it," March said. 
The Schnucks plan does not limit the number of prescriptions, but all must be generic.
Some of the first people getting prescriptions filled Monday were surprised when they were told 'no charge.'