Walmart’s online pharmacy is not a pharmacy, says lawyer
When the shelves of Walmart’s Target, Walgreens and Best Buy are crowded with the products of its own stores, there are often questions about what is actually a pharmacy.
Is it a pharmacy?
These are questions the company is now facing as it battles to become the first pharmacy company to win the right to open in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia.
In an exclusive interview with Medical News Now, a spokesperson for Walmart defended its online pharmacy.
“There are no pharmacies in the stores, just the stores’ pharmacy network,” the spokesperson said.
“They are a separate entity, which we have in our store network, but we don’t have an online pharmacy.”
The spokesperson did not address questions about the nature of Walgreen’s pharmacy network, which the company said is only available in its stores.
Walgrazers in states that have opened its doors, such as Texas and Alabama, are not eligible for the program.
The spokesperson also declined to address questions from Medical News First about the pharmacy’s legal status in those states.
In addition, it was not immediately clear what the Walmart spokesperson’s stance would be on a lawsuit filed by a group of people claiming the pharmacy is a fraud, or whether the company would respond to that lawsuit.
The pharmacy network has already been approved in six states, and the retailer has filed a petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on that claim.
If it is successful, the pharmacy would be the first national pharmacy to be granted the right under the U:Prescription Drug User Fee Act to offer online pharmacy coverage, the company has said.
Walmart’s pharmacy plans for its online pharmacies are not a substitute for actual pharmacies.
The online pharmacy would not be the only pharmacy company currently available to Walgos customers, as Walgroc is also planning to open an online store in late 2018.
In addition to providing a “full range of medication” for Walgros patients, the Walmart online pharmacy plan would also offer other services such as “medical consultations” and a “digital pharmacy search engine.”
“We will be the most comprehensive pharmacy provider in the world,” the Walmart representative told Medical News.
“The Walgruys are the world’s largest pharmacy company.”
Walmart’s announcement comes as the pharmacy industry is struggling to survive under the pressures of drug shortages, high prices and the threat of a global pandemic.
“We are seeing a lot of patients going online who are not seeing a doctor, who are having problems with medication,” said Paul Kiehl, CEO of the National Association of Pharmacists.
“And there’s no real pharmacy to take care of them, and that’s a problem.”
Walmart has a long history of supporting the prescription drug benefit program.
In 2014, it launched the National Pharmacy Savings Account.
The company has provided pharmacy benefit programs to more than 400 million people since that time.
The program has saved more than $2 trillion, according to the pharmacy benefit website DrugBuster.com.
It has helped more than 100 million people obtain prescriptions for non-prescription medications.
Walmart’s pharmacy benefit program will continue to help patients purchase drugs, according a statement from Walmart.
“Our goal is to make it easy for people to get the medication they need when they need it, while keeping prices down and offering quality medication to help us stay competitive,” the statement said.