This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
Walgreens has been my family’s pharmacy of choice for some time. This came about because we travel extensively and need a pharmacy that we are confident can access our information and help us wherever we are—whether that is here in Birmingham, in Atlanta or at Rosemary Beach, Florida. We also have learned the importance of doing business with a chain that offers a 24-hour location. For us, the proximity of Walgreens to our home (we have to pass three Walgreens locations to get to another major chain that meets our criteria) is one reason we selected Walgreens, and now this convenience is tossed aside by the fiat of Express Scripts.
This irritates us. My wife and I are unhappy with being forced to change our pharmacy. We can select a couple of grocery store pharmacies that are nearby, but fail to offer the convenient hours of Walgreens and nationwide reach, or go to another national chain that is 25 minutes away from our home (not counting Hwy. 280 traffic that probably makes it more like a 50-minute drive.)
Both choices are bad.
And this bad situation plays right into Express Script’s hands—since Express Scripts wants people to use the mail order pharmacy. This power play includes the U.S. military’s Tricare program.
So in my opinion, this is really all about money. Walgreens said in a press release, about Walgreens and Express Scripts , that it has offered to work with Express Scripts in both the commercial business and with the military Tricare program. Unfortunately for us consumers, Express Scripts wasn’t interested in keeping us happy. Walgreens claims to have offered to keep rates unchanged and that Walgreens did not seek a rate increase for the commercial plan. Walgreens went further on the military package.
According to the corporate release, Walgreens: “Offered to negotiate the Tricare renewal separately from Express Scripts’ commercial business in order to continue to provide Walgreens services on an uninterrupted basis to all active and retired military personnel. Offered to lower Tricare reimbursement rates across the board resulting in double-digit million dollar savings to the U.S. military and taxpayers over the next few years; and provided an ironclad guarantee that Walgreens prices would match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other retail pharmacies in the Tricare network. Those costs would be compared on an apples-to-apples basis and verified by an objective third party each quarter. Walgreens also committed to reimbursing Tricare for any overage following the end of each quarterly review.”
However, all that wasn’t enough.
If you aren’t happy about it, you should reach out and let members of the press and Express Scripts know about your discontent.
For consumers who aren’t interested in moving pharmacies, Walgreens offers a promotion with the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens includes savings on 8,000 brand name and generic medications. Walgreens is running a special promotion in January with a $5 membership for an individual (regular cost $20) or $10 for a family membership (regular cost $35).