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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Impact of Wal-Mart’s $4 Rx on Cost of Health Care

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Retail giant Wal-Mart recently announced that they would sell certain generic drugs for $4. Target and Costco followed suit and more pharmacies are expected to follow.

While the more expensive generic drugs are not included in the Wal-Mart plan, the ones offered at that rate can be a blessing to those who lack health insurance. In Texas one in every four residents is uninsured.

While I applaud Wal-Mart for this effort, drug costs are only one piece of the health care puzzle. Consumers must still seek out a physician’s care in order to take advantage of savings. Here is the paradox — a patient who cannot afford prescription drugs probably cannot afford a physician’s care.

It is encouraging to see private companies help people afford needed medicines. However, more needs to be done to help those in need seek primary and preventive care. I am looking forward to seeing more corporations take action to help make health care affordable.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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