Saturday, March 04, 2006

News from the Wal-Mart Beat

In an announcement yesterday, Wal-Mart rescinded previous policy and will now offer the morning-after pill in all pharmacies.

Consumer groups and activists had decried the policy, and last month state officials in Massachusetts ordered Wal-Mart to carry the emergency "Plan B" pill. This morning the LA Times notes that llinois had been the only other state that required pharmacies to stock the pill.

Imagine the outrage if Wal-Mart had refused to stock Viagra. Oh, the outcry for the children. the CHILDREN!

A few years ago, CBS wrote an article about Wal-Mart's policy with "family planning activists" arguing that the pernicious policy unfairly singled-out women from small towns where Wal-Mart had "little competition."
"Pharmacies have a moral obligation to provide health care to women, and frankly, emergency contraception prevents unintended pregnancies," said Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Foundation. "Wal-Mart has been selling birth-control pills for many years. They will come to understand that this decision is misguided."
I guess all those pesky law suits of late are grating Wal-Mart's brand, especially as Target, its main retail rival, continues to lure their customers away.

And so just as Wal-Mart told the public their initial declaration was solely a "business decision," not a moral one, it looks as if dwindling market share, together with rising legal costs prove that free enterprise sometimes works remarkably well.

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