Perhaps attention deficit disorder led many Wal-Mart's pharmacy staffers to overlook the generic equivalent of Ritalin, methylphenidate, on its list of $4 prescription drugs.

Mrmedsaver.com recently ended up debating a Wal-Mart pharmacist who refused to believe the evidence of the store's own list.

Nonetheless, Wal-Mart does sell 60 tablets of 5 mg and 10 mg each for $4.

Target and Kroger, among other national chains, also offer the drug at the bargain price. According to Consumer Reports, the drug isn't all that expensive even if not included in a $4 plan, though; it found 5 mg tablets for $26 for a 60 pill supply, 10 mg for $31.

Any hint of controversy over the low cost comes from the fact that methylphenidate shares the DEA's Class II drug classification with known villains like cocaine, opium and morphine.

According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, the medication is sometimes abused by students wishing to do better in school, lose weight, stay awake, or get a speed-like high. The pills are commonly crushed and snorted or injected.

Having taken Ritalin (by prescription), I'm skeptical that its potential for abuse warrants comparison with the 'hard' drugs. A couple of stout espressos can take you to the same place. Coffee doesn't offer the thrill of the illicit, though. Nonetheless, I'm not surprised companies such as Wal-Mart soft-pedal the fact that they distribute drugs that could be abused.

For those who need ADD medication, $4 is a very generous price. Those who simply desire it, will, unfortunately, also enjoy the bargain.


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