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Free Antibiotics at Giant and Stop & Shop

Posted Jan 07 2009 4:32pm

In case you have not heard, Giant and Stop & Shop supermarkets are offering free antibiotics from January through March.

Store executives are spinning it as a recession-minded public service, since according to an October survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 27 percent of people chose not to fill a prescription in order to save money, and 22 percent say they cut pills or skipped doses. Compare this with six months earlier, when 23 percent of respondents reported not filling a prescription, and 19 percent cutting pills or skipping doses.

However, you could also see this as the ultimate loss leader. Low-cost pharmaceuticals can bring in more shoppers, as Wal-Mart found in 2006 when it began offering some 300 generic prescription drugs for $4.00. Consulting firm Willard Bishop reports that pharmacy sales usually comprise about 10 percent of a grocery store's revenue.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial illnesses (like infections). You should not use antibiotics for viral illnesses like the flu and the cold.
  • If you do take antibiotics, be sure to take the full course; don't stop when your symptoms stop.
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