Meijer Inc. this week began providing the generic substitute for Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) for free in all 199 of its pharmacies.

Meijer, generic Lipitor, atorvastatin calcium, Hank Meijer, supercenter, free medication program, cholesterol-lowering drug, Pfizer, heart disease, CDC, statins, pharmaceuticals

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Meijer offers generic Lipitor free

September 4th, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer Inc. this week began providing the generic substitute for Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) for free in all 199 of its pharmacies.

The supercenter chain said Tuesday that the addition expands its free medication program and makes it the Midwest's first retailer a generic version of Pfizer's cholesterol-lowering drug at no charge to customers with a doctor's prescription.

Customers can get up to 30 tablets per fill of the generic in 10-, 20-, 40- and 80-mg strengths, according to Meijer.

"We're pleased to announce that our customers will now be able to fill their generic cholesterol-lowering atorvastatin calcium prescriptions for free in all of our pharmacies," co-chairman Hank Meijer said in a statement. "In keeping with our commitment to provide low-cost solutions for the families we serve, the free cholesterol-lowering medication program is another way to help the customers who rely on our pharmacies."

Meijer noted that the program can help customers manage their condition and lower their risk of heart disease. The retailer reported that one in every six adults has high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and that over the past 20 years, the use of statins increased tenfold.

"This initiative will have a huge impact because the cost of pharmaceuticals is frequently a barrier to getting appropriate treatment," Dr. David Wohns, a cardiologist with West Michigan Heart and the director of the Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, commented about the Meijer free generic program. "The biggest way to reduce the risk of heart disease comes from treating cholesterol. To have that drug available for free has the ability to impact countless lives."

Meijer added that the no-charge atorvastatin calcium will be the fourth free program offered at its pharmacies. In six years, the retailer's free pharmacy programs have saved customers $181 million overall.

Meijer launched its first free pharmacy medication program in October 2006 by filling select antibiotics at no charge, and the company has since filled nearly 9 million free antibiotic prescriptions, at a cost savings of more than $150 million to midwestern families. A free prenatal vitamin program began in May 2008, and has since filled nearly 1.5 million prescriptions, saving families more than $20 million. Meijer began providing no-cost prescriptions for metformin, the most commonly prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes, in 2010. That program has filled more than 1.1 million prescriptions, saving customers an estimated $10.5 million.

Meijer operates 199 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.