I was browsing through the Internet this morning when I read that Walgreens and Express Scripts have parted ways. Express Scripts, a third party company that processes prescription drug claims, concluded its terms with Walgreens as of January 01, 2012. This means that all Walgreens pharmacies and Duane Reade pharmacies in New York City are no longer included in Express Scripts' pharmacy network.
For the past year, Walgreens has attempted to negotiate its contract renewal with Express Script. Unfortunately, despite Walgreens' efforts and signed petitions by over 250,000 US Department of Defense beneficiaries and supporters, Express Scripts chose to turn a deaf ear and finally terminated business with Walgreens. Express Scripts apparently prefers customers to use its own mail order pharmacy business instead of community pharmacies whenever possible.
I can understand why Express Scripts members are so upset and disappointed over this change. Walgreens, being the largest drugstore chain in the States with over 7,786 drugstores nationwide including Puerto Rico, definitely makes access to pharmacy very convenient. Walgreens also offers more 24-hour and drive-thru pharmacies than any other pharmacy in the country. With this change in network coverage, many Express Scripts patients are forced to change pharmacies and go elsewhere for their meds. A lot of the patients reportedly do not see significant savings with this change, not to mention the hassle they have to go through when getting prescriptions filled at pharmacies with less convenient hours and location.
One group of pharmacy patients that are affected in a major way by the split between Express Scripts and Walgreens is the US troops. One of Express Scripts' clients is Tricare, the health and prescription drug program for America's military service men and women. In an effort to support our troops, Walgreens offered Express Scripts guaranteed prices to match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies within the Tricare network. As well, to spare our troops from being caught in the middle when the change in coverage happens, Walgreens offered Express Scripts to contract separately for Tricare. However, both of these proposals were turned down by Express Scripts.
Walgreens know that many patients under Express Scripts plans have patronized Walgreens pharmacies for over a long time, and have already developed relationship with Walgreens pharmacists. Walgreens is resolved to help by offering a special discount on annual membership for Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens. This plan aims to help Express Scripts pharmacy patients in their transition and continue to serve them, when possible, as they are forced to avail from another pharmacy that is within Express Scripts network.
According to a survey performed by Walgreens, various employers have expressed that they like to keep Walgreens as a pharmacy option for their employees. If you are one of the many patients who are affected by the change in Express Scripts program, you can voice your concern and express support through following Walgreens on Twitter and subscribing at Walgreens on Facebook.