A large retailer says it will be accelerating expansion of a flat-rate generic prescription program.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., will begin offering $4 prescriptions for generic drugs throughout Florida starting Friday, the company says.

Wal-Mart began testing the flat-rate generic program in Tampa Bay, Fla., Sept 21. Consumers have filled 36,000 $4 prescriptions since the program started, Wal-Mart says.

The statewide expansion is occurring about 4 months earlier than Wal-Mart had expected, the company says.

Wal-Mart also has decided to increase the number of drugs covered to 314, from 300, and the list will include the cholesterol-reduction drug Lovastatin and the cancer drug Megestrol, the company says.

The $4 drug list accounts for about 30% of prescriptions dispensed through Wal-Mart pharmacies and pharmacies at sister retail chains in Florida, Wal-Mart says.