CVS slashes generic drug prices in new salvo in price war

pillsWhose health plan offers the best savings for Americans? Forget the political candidates -- at the moment it might be CVS. The drug store chain is getting into the price war over generic drugs and is slashing prices and now customers can get a 90-day supply of more than 400 generic drugs for just $9.99, with more discount for those who pay cash at their in-store medical clinics.

The move comes as Wal-Mart (which charges $10 for a 90-day generic supply) and other drug stores continue to lower prices on generic drugs, a move that Wal-Mart originated several years ago. These stores see generic drugs as a lure for customers and they are willing to sell them at cost or at a loss in order to get loyal prescription business -- especially since those customers are also known for making many other purchases while they are picking up or waiting for their orders.

The Los Angeles Times also says that the discounted generics aren't the only sales tactic stores are using -- they are so hungry for prescription drug users that they are paying people to transfer their RXs -- up to $30 in some places.

The Growth of a Drug Store

    CVS Caremark will buy Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Longs Drug Stores in a cash deal worth nearly $3 billion, CVS announced in August. Only the Longs Drugs locations in Hawaii will keep their old branding.

    Paul Sakuma, AP

    The acquisition of Longs is only the latest for the New England chain, which has grown into the nation's top filler of prescriptions since opening its first store 45 years ago.

    Lisa Poole, AP

    Last year, CVS acquired pharmacy benefit management company Caremark Rx, a spinoff of Baxter Healthcare.

    AP

    In 2006, CVS acquired 700 stand-alone Sav-On and Osco drugstores from the Albertsons grocery market chain, enhancing CVS's footprint in the Midwest and making CVS the pharmacy leader in Southern California.

    Ric Francis, AP

    In 2004, CVS acquired more than 1,250 Eckerd Stores, boosting its storefronts to more than 5,000 locations. CVS also purchased Eckerd Health Services, Eckerd's pharmacy benefit management and mail-order pharmacy business.

    Michael Brown, Getty Images

    In the largest acquisition in the U.S. retail pharmacy industry's history, CVS acquired more than 2,500 stores from Revco in 1997, giving CVS a competitive presence in the Midwest and Southeast. Source: CVSCaremark.com

    Phil Long, AP

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