Seven popular antibiotics will be available free from Publix supermarkets for people with prescriptions, even if they have a health insurance provider that would pay for them, the company and Gov. Charlie Crist said Monday.
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.
The company joins other retailers that offer discounted drug programs, including Target tgt and Wal-Mart Stores wmt, but Publix Super Markets officials say the company is the first large regional chain to offer certain drugs at no cost.
Wal-Mart Stores is selling a number of generic prescription drugs for $4 in hopes that it can draw more shoppers into its stores who may come for prescriptions and then stay to buy in other departments.
"Health and wellness is crucial to every Floridian's quality of life and paramount to the vitality of our state," Crist said. "We appreciate great partners like Publix Super Markets working to further provide affordability and accessibility to quality prescription drugs for working families and seniors."
"With health care and prescription costs on the rise, our free prescription drug program will reinforce our commitment to the total health and wellness of our customers and their families," said Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens.
Most Publix stores are based in Florida, but it also has stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.