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Free Antibiotics … at the Supermarket

If you live in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic States and get sick this winter, you’re in luck … sort of.

Stop & Shop and Giant Food supermarkets are offering a free two-week course of antibiotics to anyone with a valid prescription from a doctor. This program, which continues through March 21, covers many of the most commonly prescribed generic antibiotics—including amoxicillin, penicillin and ciprofloxacin in varying doses—at all supermarkets with an in-store pharmacy. Both chains are managed by the same parent company.

A complete list of the available antibiotics—typically used to combat bacterial infections, but not viral infections like colds and the flu—is online, along with answers to the most commonly asked questions.

“We’re doing this because we recognize that a lot of consumers are facing difficult economic times, and we feel this is a way to help our customers stretch their dollars,” says Jamie Miller, a spokesman for Giant Food, which operates 182 supermarkets in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia. Stop & Shop has 375 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and Maine.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of “ Scam-Proof Your Life” (AARP Books/Sterling).

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