Wal-Mart begins mailing out diabetes supplies

Sunday, July 27, 2003

July 28, 2003

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - In what looks like an effort to capitalize on the diabetes epidemic, Wal-Mart has jumped into the mail-order diabetes supplies business.

"We are excited to meet the prescription needs of our customers who rely on diabetes maintenance medications," Keith Cook, director of managed care for Wal-Mart Pharmacy, stated in a release dated July 25. "This service will provide a cost-effective and convenient solution to our customers."

U.S. residents with diabetes spend $2 billion to $3 billion on supplies each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. The Medicare program alone spends about $600 million on diabetes products each year, according to CMS's Office of the Actuary. It's one of the four largest product categories within the program.

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse recently reported that about 15.7 million people, or 5.9 percent of the U.S. population, are currently living with diabetes. Nearly 800,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

Customers who visit http://www.walmart.com, click on the Pharmacy link, and then the Mail Order Diabetic Supplies link to get information on how to place an order for a three-month supply maintenance medications.

Whether customers are ordering insulin, meters, test strips, or insulin delivery devices, the products will be delivered to their doorsteps, postage paid, according to a Wal-Mart release.

Price points on three-months of supplies include: Novolin Reli On R, ($48.86); Reli On N, ($48.86); Reli On Test Strips, ($124.66); and Reli On Blood Glucose Meter, ($8.88). Though final price will depend on quantity purchased and a customer's insurance plan's prescription drug coverage, some customers can save on prescription co-pay if insurance plans meet mail order benefits.

There is an order form available online, which customers can print and then mail or fax back to the mail order pharmacy.

In addition, there is an automated line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which enables customers to quickly place orders, if they have a valid credit card on file, and check the status of their orders.

With annual sales of $244.5 billion, Wal-Mart Stores operates more than 2,870 discount stores, Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, and more than 520 SAM'S CLUBS in the United States. Internationally, the company operates about 1,275 units. Wal-Mart employs over 1.3 million associates worldwide.