Walgreens and Express Scripts have had a falling out. Express Scripts recently decided to remove Walgreen’s from their pharmacy provider nework. Yeah, that Walgreen’s – the one that’s on every corner with the super convenient drive-thru pharmacies. Walgreen’s also has a ton of 24hr pharmacies. If you’ve ever had a late night trip to the emergency room or had to go to Urgent Care on a weekend, you recognize how important that is! I’ve never understood why medical care is only available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5pm.
Express Scripts clients aren’t even seeing any benefits from this change! The pharmacies aren’t closer or more convenient to the patients. Express Scripts themselves admit that their customers may actually pay more, as other pharmacies can’t match Walgreen’s prices. This is truly mind-boggling!
One of the largest groups affected by this is the US military! Tricare, which is the healthcare provider for the military is one of Express Script’s customers. Walgreen’s agreed to meet or beat the prices of any other pharmacy during the contract negotiations and proposed a different contract just for Tricare, which was also rejected. I’ve spent a lot of time around military bases. Many times they are in the middle of nowhere with not a lot of stuff around.
What Express Scripts really wants is for patients in their network to use their mail-in pharmacy exclusively. While that may work for some, when you need antibiotics for your strep throat, that just isn’t acceptable! And I’m sorry, but I like talking to a pharmacist if I have questions about my medications.
Sensing that this split was on the horizon, Walgreen’s has been trying to assist their customers who are being forced to switch pharmacies in order to use their healthcare coverage. For those that would like to continue using Walgreen's, you might consider the Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens. During the month of January, individuals can join for $5/yr and families can join for $10/yr. The normal price is $20 and $35 for a yearly membership.
How to tell if you are affected.
Look on the back of your prescription card. If it states “Express Scripts” this effects you. If it doesn’t explicitly say “Express Scripts,” you’re fine! If this does affect you, and you want to bring attention to it, contact your local media or spread the word via social media.
Support Walgreen's via social media, too. Walgreens on Facebook and Walgreens on Twitter.