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This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you suddenly were no longer allowed to choose the pharmacy you wanted to have your prescriptions filled at? My family currently uses a employer-based health plans and pharmacy plan. However, we are allowed to choose our own pharmacy. I'm lucky because some health care plans most can only use their drug benefit at stores that are in their network.
Express Scripts is one of these pharmacy benefit managers. For the past year, Walgreens has negotiated with Express Scripts for a new contract to continue as part of its pharmacy provider network. These negotiations were unsuccessful and the contract expired on Dec 31.
Please read the Walgreens and Express Scripts press release.
What does it mean and why is it important?
Express Scripts clients will have to switch their prescriptions from Walgreens to another approved in-network pharmacy. I know I personally would not want to be forced to do anything like this. I like that I have a Walgreens pharmacy in close proximity to my home. I also have a close, personal relationship with my pharmacist who I have been seeing for the past decade. I know this is the case with most clients and their medications. Causing disruption with no significant benefit to patients, driving farther to get prescriptions filled at pharmacies with less convenient hours and a cost increase does not seem like a good benefit to its clients. But this is exactly what the managers of Express Scripts are now providing without Walgreens.
Only patients with certain prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts are impacted. It is best to check with your local Walgreens pharmacist to find out for sure if you’re impacted.
The underlying issues here is this decision could ultimately threaten all community drugstores in our areas. Remember, community pharmacies are a valuable presence in your neighborhoods. What happens if you are leaving the emergency room at 2 a. with a very sick child and you can not go the the pharmacy of your choice? Community pharmacies are often the first point of entry for many people into the health care system, and the value they provide by lowering overall health care costs should be recognized by Express Scripts.
At this time, Walgreens is taking steps to minimize the disruption in prescription service and is offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens . An individual can join during a special January promotion for only $5, or $10 for a family membership. Regular annual membership is $20 for an individual and $35 for a family.
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Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for this post. As always, the opinions expressed are mine. Click here for details.