January 12

Walgreens Prescription Savings Club

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This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.

For the past year, Walgreens has negotiated with Express Scripts for a new contract to continue as part of its pharmacy provider network. Those negotiations were unsuccessful, and the contract expired on Dec. 31. As a result, 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.

 Walgreens and Express Scripts  worked hard with negotiations. Walgreens offered to hold rates for a new contract flat and did not seek an increase in rates. The response from Express Scripts was to insist 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 beneficiariesm and are putting military families in the middle.

Many patients under an Express Scripts plan have used Walgreens pharmacies for years and have a personal relationship with their Walgreens pharmacist. In an effort to minimize their disruption and inconvenience, Walgreens unveiled a comprehensive national effort to make this transition as smooth as possible and is doing all it can to help patients continue to use Walgreens when possible, or take care of them as they are forced to leave Walgreens in order to use their in-network coverage.

Walgreens has a Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens   They are all about their customers and right now 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.

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