Publix pharmacies once offered a handful of medications for free. That program is ending
Publix pharmacies across its seven-state operating area will end a free prescription program on June 1, according to flyers circulating to customers this week.
“Orlando area Publix Super Markets are distributing warnings to customers that the company’s free prescription medication program is ending on June 1st,” according to a report in West Orlando News on Sunday.
This means that some prescription medications that were previously free at Publix will no longer be offered at no cost. A visit and calls to several pharmacies by The Ledger verified the report.
Lakeland-based Publix Supermarkets Inc. operates at least 1,200 pharmacies across seven states, according to an October post on its blog: The Publix Checkout.
Publix announced in 2020 that it reached a milestone of 100 million prescriptions filled under its free medication program, the West Orlando News said. At the time, Publix said they were “proud to provide a service that helps our customers afford their medications.”
A notice being handed out to customers in some Central Florida stores this week said, “While we are no longer offering medications for free, many will still be available at Publix Pharmacy at little to no out-of-pocket cost with most insurance plans,” according to the news report.
Maria Brous, director of communications for Publix, did not respond to an email Monday morning asking about the program.
According to some Publix employees, "citing internal company emails, medications that were free through Publix Pharmacy – such as amoxicillin, lisinopril, metformin, amlodipine and others – could now possibly cost $7.50 for a 90-day or 14-day supply where appropriate," the news report said.
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Publix has been administering COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters
Publix has been administering COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters during the pandemic.
Publix Pharmacy administers the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, including third doses and boosters, subject to eligibility, its website said. This includes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 - 11.
Publix pharmacies also administers a third primary series COVID-19 vaccine dose for certain immunocompromised children ages 5-11 per the Center for Disease Control's recommendation.
Currently, second boosters are only recommended for those with compromised immune systems, but last week the Biden Administration was considering authorizing a second COVID-19 booster for adults 65 and older as cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2 spread, various media reports said.
Recently, plastic coverings were removed from Publix Pharmacy counters and store checkout lanes, and the grocer made face masks optional for workers.
Publix Pharmacy has gained several recognitions
Publix Pharmacy has gained several recognitions in recent months.
In November, Publix Pharmacy won the Retail Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award, presented by Zitter Insights, a division of Managed Markets Insights & Technology, in the Retail Specialty Pharmacy category, a press release said. This was the second time Publix Pharmacy had received this award.
Publix Pharmacy operates a dual-accredited specialty pharmacy, in addition to the company’s standard retail pharmacy, Publix said. The specialty pharmacy dispenses and provides support for more complex medications that are not typically found at traditional pharmacies, such as those developed to treat rare diseases.
Winners were selected based on scores from quarterly surveys of more than 10,000 specialty pharmacy patients. To be considered, Publix Pharmacy had to meet criteria set by representatives from pharmaceutical manufacturers, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, trade organizations, consultants and equity research firms.
Also, Katie Scanlon, senior director of pharmacy administration, and Kathy Leonard, director of retail pharmacy operations, were highlighted in Drug Store News for winning spots on the annual list of Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty. They gained the publication's Business Excellence Award.
Publix operates 833 stores in Florida, among its nearly 1,300 stores across its seven-state operating region, which also includes Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Publix was founded in 1930 in Winter Haven by George W. Jenkins. It is the world’s largest employee-owned company, according to its website. The grocer employs more than 225,000 people and had sales of $48 billion in 2021.