Walgreens Says Many Express Scripts Customers Are Staying Put

The pharmacy chain announced that Express Scripts members in metro St. Louis and nationwide are opting to keep their prescriptions at Walgreens.

The Walgreens Prescription Savings Club (PSC) allows eligible patients who have pharmacy benefit plans managed by Express Scripts to avoid switching pharmacies, according to a Walgreens press release.

During the month of January, is lowering the enrollment fee for the PSC in an effort to encourage Express Scripts members continue to use Walgreens pharmacies when possible, or to make a smoother transition to another local pharmacy.

In June, Walgreens announced it was parting ways with Express Scripts, a metro-St. Louis based pharmacy benefit manager. 

Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Solutions and Services, expressed frustration with Express Scripts and the company's "decision to reject our very serious offer in December in an effort to avoid patient disruption.”

Express Scripts said in a release that it is “receiving strong support from clients and expects greater than 95 percent of its clients' prescription volume will move forward into 2012 without Walgreens as a network provider.”

The Walgreens PSC program offers discounts on more than 8,000 brand name prescription drugs. The company says nearly 2 million people already have enrolled.  

While normal annual membership fees are $20 per individual or $35 per family, Walgreens is offering one-year memberships for $5 for individuals and $10 for families during the month of January.

Crawford said Walgreens has heard from its customers and patients who are covered by Express Scripts about losing access to Walgreens pharmacies.

“They don’t want to give that up, especially without any meaningful cost savings to justify this needless hardship,” Crawford said in the release. “We offered in our contract negotiations to keep rates flat, and Express Scripts itself has stated that the elimination of Walgreens from its pharmacy network will not provide any reduction in costs for clients.”


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