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Giant Eagle kicks off free diabetes medication program

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PITTSBURGH — Giant Eagle Inc. has begun offering five common prescription drugs for type 2 diabetes free to customers in its northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania market areas.

Giant Eagle Inc. has begun offering five common prescription drugs for type 2 diabetes free to customers in its northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania market areas.

The program, which launched Thursday, includes the generic medications glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, metformin and chlorpropamide, which the food and drug retailer said were previously available through its $4 prescription program. Patients just need to bring in their prescription and Giant Eagle Advantage Card to receive up to a 90-day supply of the medication.

Giant Eagle noted that the free diabetes medication program was piloted in Columbus and Toledo, Ohio, in April and to date has provided nearly $190,000 in customer savings on those medicines.

"Type 2 diabetes is, unfortunately, an increasingly common disease in the United States and in the communities that we serve. That is why it is important to ensure our customers have access to these commonly prescribed medications as type 2 diabetes cases continue to grow," Randy Heiser, vice president of pharmacy operations at Giant Eagle, said in a statement.

The supermarket chain reported that it has joined the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Stop Diabetes initiative and is offering a multifaceted effort to combat the disease, dubbed the Diabetes Care Program.

The program will provide free diabetes screenings (including glucose screenings and A1C tests) during August and pharmacy diabetes care specialists, trained in an American Pharmacists Association program and endorsed by the American Academy of Diabetes Educators, in all 211 supermarket pharmacy locations. And starting in September, Giant Eagle is slated to offer 29 free introductory nutrition classes led by its registered dietitians, who will provide an overview of the key components for a healthy lifestyle, including food choices and exercise.

"Adding these five medications to Giant Eagle’s free prescription program, while providing other ways to manage diabetes through the various healthy living solutions offered in our stores, reinforces our commitment to promote healthy lifestyles for all of our customers," Heiser commented.

The free diabetes prescription program joins other Giant Eagle healthy living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to area residents. Last September, Giant Eagle’s pharmacy began offering an array of common antibiotics free and to date, the program has filled nearly 1 million free antibiotic prescriptions, with a total savings to customers of nearly $6 million, the company said.

"With the growing incidences of diabetes, this program is one more way Giant Eagle can help our customers build healthier lifestyles while saving them money," Heiser stated. "Our healthy living and wellness programs include everything from prescription drug programs, in-store diabetes screenings and diabetes care specialists to meal planning and food choices."

Giant Eagle said its in-store pharmacies also carry a full line of value-priced diabetic supplies, including meters, test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles and glucose tablets.

"Another factor to consider is that if a customer is transferring prescriptions from another pharmacy, it’s best to bring all of the prescriptions so the pharmacy team can be sure to watch for drug interactions and dosing specifics between all medications," added Heiser.

Giant Eagle has 166 corporate and 58 independently owned and operated supermarkets, in addition to 157 fuel and convenience stores, in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.