Wal-Mart rolled out its $4 prescription program last Thursday at the newly opened store, located at 4650 W. North Ave. Emma Mitts, 37th Ward alderman, along with Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th Ward) and various community, clergy and civic leaders, were on hand for the press conference announcing the program.

According to the press release: “Illinois customers of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. can now participate in Wal-Mart’s $4 generic prescription program, Wal-Mart President and CEO Lee Scott announced today [Oct. 19].

“Since we began the program in September, it has made a real difference in the health of our customers and our communities, so we’re very pleased to bring it to Illinois,” Scott was quoted as saying. “Customers have told us again and again how valuable the $4 generic prescription program is. We’re thrilled that we can respond in a way that cuts costs out of the system and brings more affordable medicines to our customers.”

Bettye Pulphus, Emma Mitts’ chief of staff, said the alderman was very happy about the prescription program and feels many residents in her ward will be able to benefit from the program.

According to Wal-Mart there are an estimated 1,785,240 Illinoisans who lack health insurance and sometimes they avoid filling prescriptions. Wal-Mart estimates the program will save money for the Illinois Medicaid program also. The $4 generics program includes 314 generic prescriptions, available for up to a 30-day supply at commonly prescribed dosages.

The program offers $4 pricing to all pharmacy customers and Wal-Mart associates with a prescription from a doctor that can be filled with a covered generic. Insurance plans will be accepted, but this is also available to the uninsured.

The low price covers 314 generic prescriptions made up of as many as 143 compounds in 24 therapeutic categories. The 314 prescriptions account for more than one in four of the prescriptions filled in Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club pharmacies nationwide. They include medicines in the following categories; cardiac, antibiotic, oncology, cholesterol, gastrointestinal, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, vitamins, diabetes, antipsychotic, cough and cold, hormone, antifungal, antimicrobial, asthma, analgesic, glaucoma, incontinence, allergy, Parkinson’s, antiviral, anxiety, seizure, and thyroid. Not all generic drugs in each category are included in the program.

Some drug name examples are: Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Doxycycl, HYC, Erythrocin, Gentamicin, Isoniazid, Metronidazol, Neopoly/Dex, Penicilln, Selenium, Tetracycline, Lisinopril, Pindolol, Glipizide, Glyburide, Metformin, Benzonatate, Trivent, Folic Acid, Levothyroxin, Mag Oxide, Albuterol, and Atropine.

For further information on the program, customers can call 1-800-WALMART, or log on to www.walmart.com/pharmacy. The new Wal-Mart can be contacted at 773/252-0371.

Mitts said she is also looking forward to Menard’s coming to her 37th Ward. Menard’s is expected to open a new home improvement center at 4401 W. North Ave. This store will be the anchor of a shopping center that will replace and revitalize an abandoned industrial site. The Menard’s store is expected to create up to 180 permanent full and part-time jobs.

The shopping center also has plans to include a grocery store, pharmacy, shops, restaurants and a bank. These new businesses will provide more jobs in the community and bring first-rate goods and services to the Austin community. Menard’s typically will begin hiring new team members approximately 6-8 weeks before its grand opening. Watch the store site and local newspapers for an announcement regarding their hiring.

For this new store, Menard’s also is considering a special advertising effort through community organizations, schools, churches and neighborhood residents. Team members and managers from other Menard’s stores will conduct the hiring process. The members will serve as the initial management for the new store, a practice in place at each of their 180 stores. This method ensures that new team members have the opportunity to be trained by team members who have become experts in other Menard’s stores (Source: 37th Ward News).