For the past year, Walgreens has been negotiating with Express Scripts in hopes of getting a new contract to continue as part of its pharmacy provider network. Unfortunately, these negotiations were not successful, and the contract has expired as of Dec. 31. Because of this, Walgreens is no longer part of Express Scripts’ pharmacy provider network as of Jan. 1, 2012. This includes all Walgreens pharmacies nationwide and Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York City area.
Help us protest: Walgreens and Express Scripts
Customers are being effected by this because they are being forced to find pharmacies other than Walgreens to use their in-network benefits. They are not only having to change their pharmacists but many are having to drive farther to get their prescriptions filled at pharmacies that offer less convenient hours than Walgreens. Walgreens offers more 24-hour and drive-thru pharmacies than any other pharmace in the country! The actions that Express Scripts have taken are disrupting the lives of their patients greatly with no significant benefit. On top of all this, patients are not seeing their costs go down in exchange for the increased hassle they’re being subjected to.
Walgreens tried to negotiate a way to hold rates for a new flat contract. They did not seek an increase in rates whatsoever. Express Scripts insisted on being able to unilaterally define contract terms, such as what does and does not constitute a brand and generic drug. Express Scripts also proposed to slash Walgreens reimbursement rates to levels below the industry average cost to provide each prescription.
One of Express Scripts’ clients is Tricare, which is the health and prescription drug program for America’s military service men and women. During negotiations, Walgreens took the unprecedented step of offering Express Scripts an ironclad guarantee that Walgreens prices would match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies in the Tricare network. Walgreens did this in an effort to prevent our country’s military personnel from being caught in the middle. Walgreens also offered to contract separately with Express Scripts for Tricare from other Express Scripts commercial business, but these offers were rejected. Express Scripts continues to refuse to negotiate a separate contract for the benefit of the Tricare program and its beneficiaries. Walgreens wants you to know that they completely support the military. They wish to help serve the troops but Express Scripts is getting in the way.
Additionally, Walgreens is doing everything they can to minimize the inconvenience that Express Scripts has caused patients. Walgreens has launched a comprehensive national effort to make this transition as smooth as possible. They want you to check with your local Walgreens pharmacist to find out for sure if you are indeed impacted by this change. Not everyone is effected, only those with certain prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts are impacted.
Nonetheless, Walgreens is offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club. An individual can join during a special January promotion for only $5, or $10 for a family membership, and receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. Regular annual membership is $20 for an individual and $35 for a family. Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens
If you have been effected in anyway by these changes, Walgreens urges you to express your dissatisfaction to your own local media. The more voices we have, the better.
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