Years ago, when I was in college, my family moved to the Bowie MD area. It was there that I found a family doctor that I had for years. Years later, when I got married, that doctor became the doctor for my wife, and eventually my son. It was in his office that we discovered that my son was developmentally delayed.
I had a relationship with that doctor for well over 10 years until my doctor informed me that his practice would no longer participate in my insurance program. That was a difficult time for our family. It took a couple of years and a few different doctor visits before we found our current physician who we have had for the past 10 years or so.
Just as important as the relationship between a patient and doctor is the relationship between a patient and the pharmacist. The pharmacist along with the doctor pair up to play a crucial roll in the health of a patient. Often, just as people visit the same doctor over the years, they also visit the same pharmacy as well.
Walgreens and Express Scripts were in negotiations over the past year to try to extend their contract so that patients who use Express Scripts would be able to continue to get their pharmacy needs met at Walgreen's. Walgreen's was looking to keep their reimbursement rates from Express Scripts the same. However, Express Scripts decided to unilaterally define the terms of the contract, and sought to slash the reimbursement rates to Walgreens. Consequently, Express Scripts patients can no longer get their prescriptions at Walgreens.
Express Scripts acts as a middle man between retail pharmacies and employers health care plans. One of the plans that uses Express Scripts is Tricare which is the prescription plan for our military. During negotiations, Walgreens offered to match or beat the average cost of all pharmacies in the Tricare network to help support the military. They even offered a separate contracted price for the military, but were flately turned down by Express Scripts.
One of the things that Walgreens is doing to try to meet the needs of their customers who are now unable to get their medications at Walgreens due to the dispute with Express Scripts is to launch the Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens. Through the Savings Club, members can get discounts on several generics and brand name prescriptions.
If you are a customer that has been impacted by the dispute, and are upset about it, contact your local media to show your support. You can also keep up with the latest by following Walgreens on Twitter and by liking Walgreens on Facebook.