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“It’s going to make a huge difference:” Publix officially ends its free prescription program

It is onto the next pharmacy for Floridians who once sought out free prescriptions from Publix.

The regional grocer officially cut ties with its free prescription program on June 1.

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According to the official Publix announcement, it dispensed over 100 million prescriptions in its 15-year run.

Floridians like Kayla Oglesby, who lives with diabetes, heavily relied on that program.

“I do not currently have health insurance, so it’s a little hard for me to get my medications,” Oglesby said.

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Now maintenance medications will be eligible for $7.50 for a 90-day or 14-day supply.

Forever Healthy Insurance Solutions owner and founder Melanie McCloud said the end of the program will hurt a lot of people.

She said that amount of money may not seem like a big deal to some, but to others it is.

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“For someone on a fixed income, making less than $2,000 per month, particularly with the inflation that we see with gas, groceries, and a lot more, it’s going to make a huge difference,” McCloud said.

She said these medications aren’t any prescription you can just stop taking.

“Once their condition potentially gets out of control again, because they’re not taking their medications, now they’re going to be put on an even more expensive medication,” McCloud said.

So what can you do?

McCloud recommends looking into Walmart’s Rx program or finding out if you qualify for the federal government’s Extra Help plan: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/prescriptionhelp.html

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Oglesby is considering her options at the moment but wishes there were more programs to help others with her condition.

“A lot of Americans do have it, and I think there should be programs or places that do provide free medications for diabetes,” Oglesby said.

Other places with low-cost programs include Costco and Sam’s Club, but you do need to pay a membership fee for both.

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The full statement from Publix is below:

“Publix debuted our free prescription program in 2007, and to date we have dispensed well over 100 million free prescriptions. We consistently evaluate our programs and services to ensure they are meeting the intended purpose and evolving over time. Medications offered through our program are typically covered through insurance plans.

“Effective June 1, 2022, we will no longer offer our free prescription program. Maintenance medications, including Metformin, Lisinopril, and Amlodipine will be eligible for $7.50 for a 90-day supply and Amoxicillin will be $7.50 for a 14-day supply. Quantity limits still apply.”

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