An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases,
December 31st, 2008
Yes, the northeast supermarket/pharmacy chain Stop & Shop will now offer antibiotics — for free.
(And they are not the first. Take a look at this amazing advertisement.)
Says Stop & Shop’s “consumer advisor” Andrea Astrachan:
Stop & Shop pharmacies are committed to improving the health and wellness in our communities during the winter season when families are susceptible to coughs, and certain cold-related [emphasis most definitely mine] and bacteria-borne illnesses. As the provider of fresh, wholesome foods that help our customers stay healthy, we feel it is equally important to offer these free antibiotics to fight illness.
Fresh food linked with free antibiotics! What would Michal Pollan say?
And call me cynical, but could it be that someone looked at the profit margins on generic amoxicillin compared with, say, your typical cough/cold remedy, and thought … “Hey, if we can get them here for our free antibiotics, maybe they’ll grab some NyQuil, and some Tylenol PM, and some Tenzaprine AQ …”
(I made “Tenzaprine AQ” up. Not bad, eh?)
The list of free antibiotics is here — not much of a surprise what’s included, as all are widely-used generics. (Sorry, no linezolid.) And it should be noted that ciprofloxacin’s stock seems to have fallen almost as far as Enron’s.
Of course in many situations the generic antibiotic is the right one to use, and I’m sure the consumer will appreciate this $10 or so savings off the pharmacy bill. But if ever there were a time to bring out (again) this wonderful New Yorker cartoon, this is it!