Media reports abound about the current health care debate. Confusion reigns, and the future of
legislation is uncertain. I am, therefore, particularly pleased to offer some unmitigated
good news on the health care front.
First, I'd like to tell
you how I ferreted out this valuable information. It's all my dog's fault. Poor Emma spent too much of the last year or so at
Berglund Animal Hospital because of her urinary tract issues. Four or
five times in recent months, she has been on antibiotics to clear up
the problem. Like a two-year old in the midst of a temper tantrum, the
condition has been impervious to reason.
Dr. Howes did not
surrender. He decided on a full-court press. He prescribed a six-week
regimen of the medication in order to totally annihilate those stubborn
bacteria. Now, I love my dog. But, I've already spent hundreds of
dollars over the past months and was not rushing headlong to spend
more, with absolutely no guarantee of success.
expressed my reservations, Dr. Howes told me about a program of free
antibiotics offered at Meijer, a hypermarket in not-so nearby Rolling
Meadows. I expressed my amazement, looking for the catch. He assured
me that, if I presented myself at the pharmacy counter with the
prescription that he would give me, I would walk out minutes later
with a two-week supply of antibiotics. Yes, I would have to trek back
there at two week intervals to finish Emma's six-week cycle. But, I was
more than willing to do that in order to save hundreds of dollars.
several weeks ago, Emma and I piled in the car to check out what
seemed to be too good to be true. I duly presented my prescription to
Sue, the pharmacist on duty, and was rewarded with a two-week supply of
one of the seven* free antibiotics that Meijer offers. We chatted
about the program. We were both enthused. It's been in place for three
years. In that time, the 190 branches of Meijer have given away $33
million of antibiotics.
Here's the clincher. As long as you
have a doctor's prescription, anyone in your family - adult, child or
family pet - can take advantage of this offer. You don't have to be
sneaky about it. They are delighted to help out pet owners as well as
just plain, under-the-weather humans.
I wanted to rush home
and immediately write a complimentary article about their program. Over the next
days and weeks, I left numerous messages at the corporate offices as
well as for Sue's boss. I said that I wanted to express my appreciation as well as get a comment for the article. I never received a return call. I don't know
what their story is. It's unusual to turn down free publicity, no strings attached. The program is hardly a secret. Information is
posted right there at their website. Here is what Mark Murray, the president of the company, has to say:
health care costs are having a dramatic impact on families across the
country, especially here in the Midwest. Our free antibiotic program is
the next step Meijer is taking to lead the industry toward improving
the health of our customers. It is all about delivering higher
Since I wasn't able to connect with anyone
higher-up at the company, I did a little research on my own. Meijer is
a large, family owned business, which started in Greenville, Michigan,
in 1934. Hendryk Meijer was a barber who went into the grocery business
during the Great Depression. In 1962, Meijer became the first
hypermarket: combination supermarket and department store. Over the
years, it has expanded beyond Michigan. Now, half of the branches are in four other states (Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky) and they had combined sales of over $13 billion
in 2006. Presently, two grandsons of Hendryk Meijer are at the
I was familiar with the store from when my daughter Yael
attended the University of Michigan. Many a time, we headed to Meijer to stock up on groceries, school supplies, and to
outfit her apartment. I could also fill up my tank before heading back
to Chicago, truly one-stop shopping. I had no idea the store had come to Illinois.
The chain is quite philanthropic. Over the years, they have given
away millions of dollars to various local causes. During Katrina, they
loaded up trucks and headed to the Gulf Coast with bottled water, food,
and supplies, arriving before the government did. Considering that I'm
heading to New Orleans in a few hours on a Katrina mission, this warmed
Here's even more good news. Since June, 2008, Meijer
has also begun offering a similar program of free pre-natal vitamins
for mothers-to-be. And I think that's simply terrific.
So, check it out and tell everyone you know. They may not want to toot their own horn but there's no reason we can't. Who knows? Maybe Meijer's
generosity will be contagious and other pharmacies will follow suit.
That would be further cause for celebration.
These are the covered antibiotics;
" Penicillin VK