Walmart generic drug discounts often offer more patient savings

July 24, 2018

(HealthDay)—Walmart's Generic Drug Discount Program (GDDP), which sells many commonly used generic medications for $4 per 30-day supply, offers savings over Medicare for some generic cardiovascular medications, according to a research letter published online July 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Patrick Liu, from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues compared Medicare beneficiary out-of-pocket costs through prescription drug plans (PDPs) with $4 GDDP cash prices using Walmart's September 2017 GDDP list, focusing on used to treat seven prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related conditions. The proportion of plans requiring patients to spend more than $4 out of pocket to obtain a 30-day supply for covered medications and each drug's median out-of-pocket cost were examined as the primary outcomes.

The researchers identified 27 generic medications from Walmart's list used for prevalent CVD-related conditions; Medicare PDPs covered a median of 25 medications. A median of 21 percent of plans required patients to spend more than $4 out of pocket for covered medications. Across all tiers, the median total out-of-pocket cost of covered medications was $2; significant differences were seen in costs for Medicare Advantage-PDPs (MA-PDPs) and stand-alone PDPs, with MA-PDPs consistently requiring patients to spend more than stand-alone PDPs.

"A substantial proportion of Medicare PDPs in 2017 required patients to spend more out of pocket than Walmart's GDDP for 30-day supplies of 27 generic medications used to treat prevalent CVD-related conditions," the authors write.

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