1.18.2012

Sponsor of the day....Walgreens!! An FYI about The Walgreens-Express Scripts Dispute

This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
FYI:  For the last year, Walgreens and Express Scripts have been negotiating over a new contract so that Walgreens can continue as part of Express Scripts' pharmacy provider network. 
Walgreens and Express Scripts
They were unsuccessful in doing so, and as of December 31, 2011, their contract expired.  This means....Walgreens is no longer a part of Express Scripts pharmacy provider network, as of January 1, 2012!!
This dispute is causing pharmacy patients to have to switch from their own local Walgreens pharmacy, where they have a personal relationship with their pharmacist, to a different pharmacy that is possibly further away, with less-convenient hours. Even with the inconvenience, pharmacy patients are still not experiencing any decrease in costs. 
During the negotiations between Walgreens and Express Scripts, Walgreens offered to hold rates for a new contract flat.  Walgreens did not even seek an increase in rates! Express Scripts responded by insisting on being able to unilaterally define contract terms.  Another proposal from Express Scripts was to slash Walgreens reimbursement rates to levels below the industry average cost to provide each prescription.
Even without Walgreens, costs may still go up!  Walgreens offers competitive pricing, additional savings from dispensing less expensive generic drugs more frequently than other pharmacies, and providing a 90 day supply of medication at their retail pharmacies versus three 30 day refills.
Express Scripts could offer their clients massive savings if they were to promote 90- day refills, except that it would conflict with with their mail order 90-day prescription business where they receive profit.
Express Scripts itself even stated that their clients would NOT see tremendous savings from excluding Walgreens from its network!!
Now, Express Scripts is putting America's military in the middle! Tricare, the health and prescription drug program for America's military, is one of Express Scripts' clients.  In trying to prevent our country's military personnel from being caught in the middle, Walgreens even proposed to Express Scripts that they would guarantee that their prices would match or beat average costs per adjusted prescription of ALL other pharmacies in Tricare's network.  Walgreens also offered to do a separate contract with Express Scripts for Tricare, but the offers were rejected!
As it stands now, Express Scripts denies negotiating a separate contract that would have been beneficial to the Tricare program and its beneficiaries.
It is patients with certain prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts that will be affected.  It is recommended to check with your local Walgreens pharmacist to find out if you are impacted.  Patients with Express Scripts' name on the back of their prescription insurance card may be affected.  If it does not say Express Scripts, they are not affected.
So now, Walgreens is unveiling an extensive national effort for as smooth of a transition as possible!  Walgreens is doing everything it can to help patients continue to use Walgreens when possible, or take care of them if they are forced to leave Walgreens in order to use their in-network coverage.
Walgreens is also taking steps to minimize this whole disruption by offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club!  During a special promotion for the month of January, an individual can join for only $5, and a family membership is offered at the discounted price of only $10! 
Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens
Benefits of this Prescription Savings Club include:
~Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and ALL generic medications
~Discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers, and diabetic supplies
~Bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services
All included in the Prescription Savings Club!!
Take this opportunity to help out and support Walgreens!   Stay updated by liking them on Facebook, and following them on Twitter@Walgreens!!
Walgreens on Twitter
Walgreens on Facebook
Thanks for reading, and remember to show your support for Walgreens!!
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