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How Walgreens Works to Protect Your Choice of Pharmacy

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

What is going on? – As in all disputes like this, there is a lot of information to read through to get to the bottom of the controversy. You can read more here – Walgreens and Express Script – but I’ll break it all down into the basics of what’s happening, how it can affect you and your family, and what you can do about it.

Unsuccessful Negotiations

Express Script is a middleman, connecting the pharmacies that provide health care service with the employers and health plans that pay for medications. Over the past year, Walgreens has been in negotiations with Express Script to continue their contract – but those negotiations have failed. Even though Walgreens offered to keep rates flat, at their current level, Express script insisted that Walgreens slash their reimbursement rates to levels below the industry average, and allow Express Scripts total control over which prescription were considered brand or generic. Another point of disagreement was that Express Scripts wants patients to ONLY be allowed to purchase money-saving 90 day prescriptions through their own mail-order program, and never though their local, trusted pharmacy. Walgreens felt that the demands were unfair, which caused Express Scripts to terminate their agreement.

What does this mean for you?

This means that if your prescriptions are covered by Express Script, you may no longer be able to fill them at your convenient local Walgreens pharmacy. This is putting a lot of stress and hardship onto patients – and Express Script themselves admit that excluding Walgreens like this will NOT lead to any decrease in prices for consumers. So – that makes it clear that this is about profits for Express Script, not about protecting their customers. In fact, Express Script’s profits have been growing at rates higher than both their peers AND Walgreens. When the middleman is seeing more gains than any of the parties that they’re serving – clearly the relationship is out of balance!

How to know if you are affected

No one wants a surprise when they show up at the pharmacy and learn that their insurance isn’t going to fill their families prescription! To find out if you are affected by these changes, find your insurance card, flip it over, and see if Express Script is mentioned on the back. If so, you may be impacted by this. The best way to know for sure though is to stop by, or call, your local pharmacy.

Walgreens Fills One Out of Five Prescriptions in the U.S.

In our family, we have used the same local pharmacy for over 20 years. I know the pharmacists there, they know my family and medical history, and I trust them to take care of me, and give me good advice. Our first Walgreens just opened in my town about a year ago – but I know that there are so many people who have already moved their prescriptions here, since they offer 24 hour service and even drive-though pharmacies, which you really appreciate when you have a sick kiddo. Most people really build a relationship with their pharmacy – so Walgreens knows that this change is going to be stressful for many of it’s customers!

What Walgreens is doing to help

To help make this transition easier for families affected by the changes, Walgreens is doing everything that it can to help customers continue to use their favorite Walgreens pharmacy, or take care of them if they’re forced to transfer their prescriptions to another pharmacy. They have increased staff to ensure that the increase in prescriptions can be transferred quickly and seamlessly. They’re also offering a big discount on joining the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. When you join the savings club during this special January promotion, you pay only $5 for you, or $10 for an annual family membership. The savings club membership provides savings on more than 8,000 brand name, plus ALL generic prescriptions. Walgreens carries more than 400 generics, and they’re available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. The regular annual membership is $20 for an individual, and $35 for a family – so Walgreens is offering a significant savings to it’s loyal customers this month.

To learn more

To learn more, and stay updated on these changes, as well as other great promotions and new products at Walgreens, visit them on the web…

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