On December 31, 2011, after a year of negotiations, Walgreens and Express Scripts have parted ways. Walgreens is no longer a part of the Express Scripts pharmacy provider network. This includes all Walgreens pharmacy locations nationwide as well as Duane Reade pharmacies in the NYC area. See this press release: Walgreens and Express Script
I can’t imagine the havoc this has created for people who are used to just going into their “regular” pharmacy with their “regular” pharmacist! Now they will have to go elsewhere, to a stranger, perhaps go farther away than their local Walgreens. It doesn’t seem like these customers will see their costs go down while moving to their new pharmacy.
From what I understand, Walgreens offered to keep their rates constant for the new contract with Express Scripts- they did not seek an increase in their rates. The sticking point seems to be that Express Scripts wanted to be able to say what does and does not constitute a brand name vs. a generic drug. They also proposed to cut the reimbursement rates Walgreens received to rates below the industry average cost to provide each prescription to their customers.
Seems that Walgreens can provide a 90 day supply of a drug to a customer which conflicts with Express Scripts own mail order drug program which provides 90 day supplies to its customers. A little conflicting considering Express Scripts stands to make more money from dispensing medications from their own , in-house, mail distribution program.
Now Express Scripts has also chosen to give America’s military a hard time as well as all of the “other” customers they’ve put out by not resigning Walgreens as a preferred pharmacy. Tricare is one of Express Scripts clients. Tricare is the health and prescription program for our service men and women. In order to not put them out, Walgreens offered to contract Tricare separately from the other Express Scripts clients. The answer was no.
This is an issue because no one really sees what Walgreens gets paid by Express Scripts. No one knows what the impact of this change will be but it could stretch far and wide. In order to eliminate some of the burden on its clients, Walgreens has introduced a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club. During this special January promotion, an individual can join for $5. A family can join for $10. This Prescription Savings Club allows participants to receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name and generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three month supply for less than $1 per week. Also included are: discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and more. There is even a discount for buying Walgreens brand products in their stores. If you join after the January promotion, the regular annual membership cost is $20 per individual and $35 per family. Walgreens Prescription Savings Club
Even though employers want to keep Walgreens in their pharmacy network, Express Scripts doesn’t see it that way. To stay up to date on all of the happenings between Walgreens and Express Scripts, be sure to follow Walgreens on Twitter and “like” Walgreens on Facebook. Maybe some type of compromise might be had between the two companies in the future.