Publix Offers 7 Types Of Antibiotics For Free

According to USAToday, Publix is going to begin offering seven different “popular” types of antibiotics for free to anyone who has a prescription, even if their insurance would pay for it. From USAToday:

Fourteen-day supplies of the seven drugs, among the most commonly prescribed, will be available at all 684 of the chain’s pharmacies in five states. Publix said it is not limiting the number of prescriptions that customers may fill for free.

The prescription antibiotics available under the program are amoxicillin, cephalexin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin, penicillin VK, ampicillin and erythromycin.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and a pediatrician, said many of the antibiotics are prescribed for children, and he noted that Florida has 3.6 million uninsured people and many who have some insurance but no coverage for prescription drugs.

“So I hope (Publix stores) are ready,” Agwunobi said, predicting a heavy response.

Midwestern superstore chain Meijer already does this, they begin giving away free antibiotics in October of 2006.

Publix to offer 7 popular prescription antibiotics for free [USAToday]
(Photo:bioclastic)

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  1. full.tang.halo says:

    Everyone say hello to a new age of antibiotic resistant bugs. Doctors feel free to start prescribing antibiotics for anything now that its free…..

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Perfect if you just ate floor bread or train station Skittles.

  3. FuzzysFriedChicken says:

    Meijer has been doing this for 6 months or so for those in the midwest.

  4. awall25 says:

    This is such a terrible idea.

  5. tinyrobot says:

    This is an amazingly terrible idea. Not because it provides no-cost access to drugs that could otherwise be out of reach (that is a benefit needed for ALL pharmaceuticals), but simply because in an age when I have to explain to my MD time and time again that top-shelf antibiotics won’t help cure my cold, it’ll usher in a tidal wave of needless antibiotic use and overuse for non-threatening illness (acne, etc).

    Given the amount of MRSA that’s walking around in people’s noses, and how antibiotic-happy most people are (antibiotics in toys, in SOAP?), I think we need to embark on way more consumer education before we get anywhere close to putting free packets of Methicillin in our cereal boxes.

  6. tinyrobot says:

    Not to mention that resistance to ciprofloxacin (the drug given as a cure/first treatment in responses to the Anthrax scare) can be overcome by a single nucleotide mutation, basically a 1 in 6,000,000 chance in most bacteria. Consider that you can fit 6 million bacteria on a pencil tip, and you’ll hopefully get a pretty good idea for why we need to be very careful about where and how these drugs are administered.

  7. Hawk07 says:

    I’m not so sure that’s a great idea. If you don’t pay for the medicine, you might not appreciate it and then not follow the recommended instructions (take till empty even if you feel much better).

    And then if you don’t follow the instructions, you can start getting antibiotic resistant strains in you and that’s when you’re really going to need the big gun medicine that won’t be so free.

    It’s being penny wise and pound foolish.

  8. theblackdog says:

    I’m allergic to amoxicillin and penicillin anyway so this won’t help me. Still, I’m sure hypochondriacs across Florida are cheering.

  9. 6BilBeauties says:

    You shouldn’t be seeking a prescription for a “cold”, anyway. A cold is a virus that needs to work itself out of your system. My dr is very careful about prescribing antibiotics, and will only prescribe them when necessary. This free prescription program is fantastic in keeping down the cost of benefits for many companys, especially those that are self-funded.

  10. selianth says:

    I’d be curious, since it’s been pointed out that Meijer in the midwest does this already, to see a study done to tell if there’s been an increase in the number of superbugs or antibiotic resistant strains. I understand all the concerns and think it’s a very real possibility, but “possible” doesn’t necessarily mean “definitely going to happen.”

  11. orielbean says:

    You guys don’t quite get it. The resistant bugs are news and scare worthy, but remember that the untreated person is the one spreading the disease to everyone and creating billions of bug colonies in different people.

    You still are supposed to treat the sick person, not let them run around and get more people sick. This is actually helpful to the people who can’t afford co-pays and instead get more people sick. You whine about the 1 in 6 million chance of the mutation, but if one sicko spreads to 6 other people, now you’ve upped the odds exponentially.

  12. orielbean says:

    And raising awareness of these problems will assist researchers in greater grants to help in funding new type of anti biotics. Fighting disease is like fighting war – you get a big gun, and new armor is invented to counteract it. It’s a process that evolves over time. Forcing poor people to die from a cold or smallpox or something equally treatable is far worse than fretting over laser beam sharks and superbugs that don’t threaten the vast majority of the population yet.

  13. jaysonjaz says:

    From a business standpoint this sucks for me. I am a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy, so how am I supposed to compete with stores are giving away free drugs.

    When Walmart sells stuff below cost everyone complains about how they are destroying America, but when its not Walmart then everything is suddenly great!

  14. rouftop says:

    I think it’s all about whether we trust doctors and patients to do the right thing with antibiotics. People still can’t just walk in and get them without a prescription. So it’s really no different than it is now, except more people will actually be able to take the drugs that their doctors prescribe because they won’t have to worry about the money. The only possible downfall is doctors prescribing them more often because they’re free, but I don’t see what would motivate them to do that. So yay Publix. (But boo, no universal health care.)

  15. stilts says:

    well,I’m seeing this two ways. much like the low price plans,that the major chains implemented. It’s honestly of limited use,the drugs on the list are already relitievly cheep. On top of that there some of the oldest, and most prescribed, leading to the overuse scenarios.

    Yet on the other hand, given i personally don’t have any kind of drug coverage.I like seeing these “projects” come out. Because hopfuly it will lead to more broad versions in the future that cover things that are actually used often.Though i could see how this is a pain for small phramacys, theres so few of them left any more honestly, every things part of some other store now were they can buy in major bulk due to capital and squeeze out little stores. and depending how you look at it moves like this are not so much altrustic to help the un/underinsrued, as they are moves to ensure the market in there favor. its a loss leader for the stores like any other sale. get them in and get there money. while undercutting any competition.

  16. meneye says:

    Despite what you think about the drugs, Publix is the best grocery store in business today.

  17. synergy says:

    @orielbean: You can’t cure people with Superbugs. People who don’t properly take the full course as prescribed of an antibiotic up the chance of creating Superbugs. People who take antibiotics for a virus make it worse.