Gosh, in these days of rip-off drug prices, what a boon it is to have Wal-Mart save all of us consumers with another example of its "Low Prices, Always" approach. It's almost too good to be true.
Well, actually, it's not true. First, the mega-chain is offering the discount in only 15 states, leaving 70 percent of America out. The media establishment, in its rush to give a group hug to one of its biggest advertisers, failed to mention this little detail.
Second, the media swallowed Wal-Mart's press release whole, showing not an iota of proper journalistic skepticism. Had the media lords done even the slightest bit of sniffing around, they would have found that the corporation's $4 deal does not apply to the thousands of generic drugs commonly available -- but only to 291 of them. But wait, take another sniff -- many of the 291 are just different dosages and variations of the same drugs, so, really, only 143 generics are included in Wal-Mart's "big deal." But take one more whiff: Some of these drugs are already available at other stores for less than $4.
What we have here is a classic bait-and-switch consumer scam fostered by the media. Wal-Mart got millions of dollars' worth of free advertising falsely suggesting that consumers should switch to the big box store to get low-priced drugs. In fact, study after study has confirmed that independent pharmacies -- not Wal-Mart or any other chain -- offer the greatest value, both in terms of price and personal attention.
Journalists are supposed to uncover scams, not promote them. To get more information on big box swindles, call the Institute for Local Self-Reliance at (612) 379-3815.
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