April 26, 2007

400 Health Clinics to Open in Wal-Mart Stores During Next Three Years

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., intends to contract with local hospitals and other organizations to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics over the next two to three years, and if current market forces continue, up to 2,000 clinics could be in Wal-Mart stores over the next five to seven years, Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott will say in a speech later today at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. The clinic program’s expansion is just the latest in a series of moves by Wal-Mart to help implement customer solutions to America’s health care crisis, including the $4 generic drug prescription program, health information technology and participation in a major coalition supporting comprehensive healthcare reform by 2012.

“We think the clinics will be a great opportunity for our business. But most importantly, they are going to provide something our customers and communities desperately need — affordable access at the local level to quality health care,” Scott says.

Scott will also announce that Wal-Mart customers have saved about $290 million on selected generic prescription drugs since September 2006, when the company began selling prescriptions for $4 each in Tampa, Fla. Available nationwide since November, the $4 prescriptions now account for more than 35 percent of all prescriptions filled at Wal-Mart and nearly 30 percent of the $4 prescriptions are filled without insurance.

“The response has been nothing short of spectacular,” Scott says of the $4 program. “Within days of announcing our $4 program, countless other discounters, drug stores and supermarkets dropped their prices on generic prescriptions. That has surely saved our health care system millions of more dollars. So let there be no doubt that the private sector can lead,” continued Scott.

The health clinics, which will lease space in Wal-Mart stores, will be managed by local or regional hospitals and/or other organizations that are independent of Wal-Mart. The move is a significant expansion of a pilot project begun in September 2005, when Wal-Mart started leasing space to medical clinics inside Wal-Mart stores. Currently, 76 clinics are operating inside Wal-Marts in 12 states.

The providers running the clinics will determine what services to offer, which will generally include preventive and routine care for conditions such as allergies and sinus infections, as well as basic services such as cholesterol screenings and school physicals at affordable prices. They will be staffed by either certified nurse practitioners or physicians.

“We also think there is tremendous potential with local hospitals as partners for some or all of these clinics. Patients trust the role hospitals play in providing quality medical care. They have the medical experience and expertise — and the larger network if more serious treatment is needed,” Scott says.

The clinics will post clear prices for services and procedures, helping to bring much-needed price transparency to the American health care system.
Scott today urges other companies and organizations to join the coalition. “There is not a person or group anywhere in this country that cannot play a role,” he says.

About Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The Company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartfacts.com/ . Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com/ .

Walmart is all set to enter the Indian markets through a partnership with Bhari (Airtel) soon, but is facing stiff opposition from the communists and similar groups.

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