This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you have Express Scripts insurance and are currently a Walgreens or Duane Reade customer, you are aware that Walgreens and Express Script recently ended their contract and Walgreens is no longer part of their pharmacy provider network. What does this mean for you? It means you either have to leave your favorite pharmacy, which can be anywhere from inconvenient to an outright disruption in your life, depending on the location and the relationship your family developed with your pharmacist. It also means, in some cases, that you may be paying more for your prescription medications.
Essentially, the crux of the negotiations is that Express Scripts wants to be able to determine what constitutes a brand or generic drug, as well slash the reimbursement rates to Walgreens to below industry average. Express Scripts serves as a middleman between pharmacies providing health care and employees and health plans that pay for the medications, so they often do not see what the pharmacy charges for a prescription, only what Express Scripts charges. Express Scripts has already stated that this decision will not save patients money. In some cases their decision may actually raise prices for customers because many of the companies they will continue to deal with do not offer prices as competitive as Walgreens.
Walgreen is striving to help their loyal customers by offering a special discount on annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club. An individual who joins during January is eligible for a special promotion of $5, and $10 for a family membership (about 75% off the regular annual membership price). They will receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name prescription drugs and all generic medications. Through Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club, 400 generics are available at a 3-month supply for less than $1 a week.
More information on the negotiations between Express Scripts and Walgreens and the results can be found on the above press release. For patients that decide to join Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, in addition to savings on prescription medications, customers can expect discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies, as well as bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services.