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Pharmacy Board Says Generics Being Sold Too Cheaply

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A state board has asked Wal-Mart and Target to comply with an Oklahoma law prohibiting items from being sold at below cost, saying the retail chains are not charging enough for some of their generic prescription drugs.

The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy is concerned about the $4 prescriptions being offered under the stores' low-cost drug programs.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said the company does not sell prescriptions below the company's cost. Target officials did not immediately return calls for comment.

Bryan Potter, the state board's executive director, said Friday the request is an effort to get the two retailers to comply with the Oklahoma Unfair Sales Act, not an attempt to prevent the stores from selling prescription drugs at a low cost.

``It's not a legal request at this time and it's not to stop the total progam,'' he said. ``There are about 30 some items that are being sold way below cost.''

Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., announced the $4 dollar prescription drug program in September while Minnesota-based Target Corp. began its program in November.

Potter said Target officials have agreed to the request if Wal-Mart will do the same. He said Wal-Mart attorneys are considering the matter.

Potter said he is trying to reach an amicable agreement with the retailers.

``We're just trying to take care of it without the attorneys making a whole lot of money,'' he said.

Phil Woodward, director of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association said many drugs are not included in the $4 prescription program.

``There's not that many generics available,'' he said. ``They tout about 300, but there are only about 85 available because the same drugs at different strengths are counted as separate drugs.''

Wal-Mart has faced similar laws in other state and has raised the price of some prescription drugs elsewhere.

Potter said he is required to make sure pharmacies comply with the Oklahoma Unfair Sales Act.

``We have in our law a section that says any registrant with the board of pharmacy shall obey all pharmacy laws and rules and all state and federal laws and rules, so I'm just doing my job,'' he said. ``And, I had several pharmacists call me and ask why I wasn't doing anything about it.''
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