ST. LOUIS – Approximately 3,000 babies in the U.S. are born with brain/spinal cord defects each year. According to the March of Dimes, 70 percent of those defects could have been prevented with the proper dose of folic acid, a key ingredient in prenatal vitamins. Joining in the fight against birth defects, Schnucks Pharmacies now offer FREE prescription prenatal vitamins making it easier for pregnant women and their babies to get the protection they need.
Schnucks Vice President of Pharmacy Michael Juergensmeyer says that beginning Jan. 18, all 103 Schnucks Pharmacies will offer 13 of the most often prescribed vitamins absolutely free. “It’s a major investment for our company, but we feel a responsibility to help where we can. Due to economic considerations, many patients don’t refill prescriptions for chronic conditions, let alone take prescription prenatal vitamins for wellness care,” Juergensmeyer said. “We share doctors’ concerns and recognize the need to make good prenatal care more affordable for all.
Deborah Kersting, executive director of the Greater Missouri Chapter of the March of Dimes, agrees and said, “We are extremely excited that Schnucks is leading the way in raising awareness and in providing free prenatal vitamins to help give all babies a chance for a healthy start.”
“Folic acid is the most important vitamin women can take to help prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine, and it’s most important that they start taking it before they get pregnant and continue to take it after,” Kersting said. “Unfortunately, according to a 2008 survey, only 20 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 45 were aware that folic acid was so important.”
Iron, Kersting says, is another key ingredient in prenatal vitamins. It helps build both mother and baby’s muscles while preventing anemia and lowering the risk of preterm birth and low birthrate.”
The FREE prenatal vitamin program is part of Schnuck Pharmacies’ Health and Wellness Program. The free vitamins complement the already popular FREE generic oral antibiotic program, $4 30-day generic prescription program and $10 90-day generic prescription program. Juergensmeyer estimates that the pharmacy discount programs have saved Schnucks customers more than $16 million dollars since there inception.