Schnucks first to launch free prescription antibiotic program

Rick Ingram, Schnucks pharmacy manager, types up a prescription at its location in Savoy, Thursday. Schnucks recently launched a prescription antibiotic plan that allows people to get a 21-day supply of 54 different generic oral antibiotics free of charge Erica Magda

Rick Ingram, Schnucks pharmacy manager, types up a prescription at its location in Savoy, Thursday. Schnucks recently launched a prescription antibiotic plan that allows people to get a 21-day supply of 54 different generic oral antibiotics free of charge Erica Magda

By Brittany Abeijon

The next time a prescription for oral antibiotics is filled at Schnucks supermarket, it is likely that it will not cost anything.

On Oct. 29, Schnucks became the first store in the region to launch a free prescription antibiotic program that offers customers the opportunity to receive up to a 21-day supply of more than 54 generic, oral antibiotics at no charge.

“Over the last few years the company has been working ways to offer customers lower prices,” said Paul Simon, spokesman for Schnucks. “Now, we are able to support this program by waste cutting.”

There is no co-pay, no required purchase for the various oral antibiotics and no need to be a regular customer.

“Absolutely no health insurance coverage is needed,” Simon said.

There are 54 antibiotics from seven different drug families offered. The drugs selected are some that are most often prescribed to children and adults. Schnucks eventually hopes to expand the list in the future to include an even greater number of medications.

“The list we have now is where we are starting,” Simon said. “But some drugs may fall off; some may come on.”

Customers can receive up to a 21-day supply of any one oral antibiotic for free, but no cost is applied if more is needed. Simon said customers can come back for a refill every 21 days.

Insurance and co-pays mattered before in the price of prescription antibiotics, but now those extra costs are a thing of the past and will save some hundreds of dollars.

“Co-pays could range anywhere from $5 to over $100 for uninsured customers,” Simon said.

The free prescription antibiotic program may attract more business to Schnucks, but Simon said they are focusing on assisting the overall health and wellness of the community.

Rick Ingram, pharmacy manager at the Schnucks in Savoy, 1301 Savoy Plaza Center, said the program is progressing very well.

“This will allow patients who may have no drug insurance and limited funds to cure an illness that requires antibiotics,” Ingram said.

Ingram said he thinks it is very possible that students will now fill their prescriptions at Schnucks because there is no out-of-pocket expense for the drugs, but there is a co-pay for prescription medication at McKinley Health Center.

Schnuck Markets, Inc. operates 102 stores and 99 pharmacies, three of which are in the surrounding communities of Champaign, Urbana and Savoy.