Home Uncategorized Are you upset by the Walgreens-Express Scripts split?

Are you upset by the Walgreens-Express Scripts split?

written by Vidya Sury January 17, 2012

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.


If there is one thing that makes me mad, it is the thought of changing my pharmacy which is a hop, skip and jump away from where I stay.  Switching would mean higher costs, inconvenient timings and a total disruption to my routine because of the change. And with a kid in tow, don’t ask!

So picture this. If you’ve been using Walgreens for as long as you can remember, you know how convenient it is. Walgreens is the largest pharmacy chain in the US with more than 7000 drugstores across the country, including Puerto Rico. They make it easy to get a prescription filled and have more 24-hour and drive-through pharmacies than any other pharmacy in the US.  

However, because the  Walgreens and Express Scripts contract has expired with no signs of renewal, regular users of Walgreens must now find a new pharmacy. How irritating is that? But wait till you hear the whole story!

Why Walgreens and Express Scripts are no longer working together

See, Express Scripts is a third-party middleman between pharmacies offering health care service and employers and health plans that pay for the medications. Their contract with Walgreens expired on December 31, 2011 and even though Walgreens has been trying hard to renew it during the past year, they are no longer part of the Express Scripts pharmacy provider network. This includes all of Walgreens pharmacies across the country and Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York City area. Walgreens also offered to forego an increase in rates when the contract was due for renewal.

What does this mean for you, the customer?

In spite of Walgreens’ attempts to renew its contract and a signed petition from over 250,000 US Department of Defense beneficiaries and supporters, Express Scripts has refused to respond, leaving them and Walgreens out in the cold.  One of the reasons for this is Express Scripts wants its customers to use its own mail order pharmacy business rather than the local pharmacy with whom the customer enjoys a long-term relationship.

Now, thanks to Express Scripts’ exclusion of Walgreens, customers are forced to change pharmacies and probably need to travel miles before they can get their medication.  And in if there is an emergency? Enough said. Obviously, millions of Walgreens customers are upset.  

But it is not just Walgreens’ customers who are having a tough time. The Walgreens-Express split is also affecting the US troops because Tricare, the health and prescription drug program for America’s military service men and women is also Express Scripts’ client.

The irony is this: Walgreens has offered Express Scripts guaranteed prices that will match or be lower than the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies in the Tricare network. This would be a big advantage for Tricare and save them the hassle of being caught in the middle of the network change. Walgreens also offered Express Scripts to contract separately for Tricare. Yet, both offers were rejected by Express Scripts.  With Walgreens out of the picture, Express Scripts admits that costs may go up in their efforts to offer competitive pricing.

Walgreens is committed to its patrons

Walgreens is aware that thousands of patients who are a part of Express Scripts’ plans have been Walgreens customers for years. To honor the long-term relationship with their customers, Walgreens is offering a special discount on annual membership for Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens, which will ease the transition for those under the Express Scripts’ plan when they are forced to switch to another pharmacy approved by Express Scripts.

Through this savings plan, just $10 a year covers your immediate family, including your spouse, dependents 22 and younger and pets. $ 5 a year covers an individual. Join and enjoy discounts on your prescriptions through this program. Benefits include savings on over 8,000 brand name and all generic medications, discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies and bonuses when you buy  Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services.

Walgreens went a step further and conducted a survey which found that a majority of employers prefer to go with Walgreens as the pharmacy option for their employees. But Express Scripts has snatched away this choice.

Take action now by supporting Walgreens

If you are affected by the Express Scripts network change and want to continue using Walgreens for your meds, please raise our voice. Contact your local media. Tell them how you feel. Show your support by following Walgreens on Twitter and subscribe to Walgreens on Facebook for updates.  

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Stay healthy!
Vidya Sury

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