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Walgreens and Express Scripts part ways: Are you affected?

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

My mother has been a Walgreens customer for more than a decade. Like many people her age, she has a lot of prescription drugs on which her life is dependent. I consider us extremely lucky to be right down the street from our Local Walgreens, where she or I visit at least twice a week to pick up prescriptions.

For us, Walgreens is mainly the best option because it is open 24 hours a day. In addition, her records with Walgreens are available at any Walgreens location nationwide, so should we go on a trip and she either becomes ill or needs to go to the hospital, the nearest Walgreens will have her prescription information for either helping her figure out if she can take any over-the-counter medications, or I can pick up the information and hand it to the nearest hospital.

I am very glad that Walgreens has given us peace of mind.

I’m so glad that my mother is not part of the Express Scripts pharmacy provider network, because after negotiating over the past year, Walgreens and Express Scripts have parted ways. This means Express Scripts customers who have purchased from Walgreens nationwide will have to find a new pharmacy in their network – possibly having to drive long distances and experience the hassles of transferring all of their prescriptions to a new pharmacy.

If you are a member of Express Scripts, perhaps you have been affected by this change and have to drive longer distances to find a pharmacy network. If you are in a military family and use Tricare, one of Express Scripts’ clients, this may affect you here at home and any loved ones stationed overseas.

In response, Walgreens is asking customers to use the Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens, Norally, the Prescription Savings Club is available for $20/year per individual and $35/year per family, but through January 31, Walgreens is offering annual club memberships at $5/year per individual and $10/year for the whole family.

The Prescription Savings Club web site includes a search function, in which you can search for your prescription, enter your dosage and see the prices Walgreens is offering. Discounts for 8,000 prescriptions are available, and although the prices may not be lower than the ones you are paying with your current pharmacy or prescription plan, you can check the site for yourself and see.

I searched for my own prescriptions and did not find any significant discounts from what I am paying without insurance and with a free prescription savings card. This may be different for you, but I have learned over the years that the best thing you can do to save money on your prescriptions is to do as much research as possible to find the lowest prices.

I just asked my mother what she would do if her pharmacy network stopped including Walgreens. I have to clean up what she said for this post:

“I’d be [expletive for ‘extremely mad.’] I’d [call my provider and vocally express my opposition, most likely in a raised voice.]”

For more information, follow Walgreens on Twitter and like Walgreens on Facebook.

Will this affect you? How would you feel if your pharmacy provider removed your pharmacy from its network?

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  • Courtney Sundquist January 16, 2012, 7:43 am

    As a military dependent this is very upsetting…. not only do we have to wait months to get into a doctor but now if we choose to pay out of pocket (insurance only covers on base sponsored doctors) we have to try to find a pharmacy that will accept Tricare to get the medication we need. Don’t get me wrong we are happy that we are covered by Tricare but at times it is very frustrating, I won’t go into details but you shouldn’t have to wait for two months to get seen for a bladder infection. Also the doctors are rotated around so much that you never see the same provider. Hopefully Tricare will be picked up again at Walgreens.

    Reply
    • Bellesouth
      Twitter:
      January 16, 2012, 11:49 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Courtney! I agree, it’s extremely awful. I just read a story on kaiserhealth.com about a San Francisco woman who delayed refilling her prescriptions in hopes that Walgreens and Express Scripts would reach a deal. Unfortunately, it looks like that deal is gone.

      Walgreens is campaigning very hard to retain the millions of customers affected by this. If I were you, I’d call Walgreens to ask about any plans they are offering to military families. In many of the stories I’ve read I’ve seen the words “competitive pricing” floating around.
      Bellesouth recently posted..Giveaway: Win an iPad 2 in the New Years Blog Bash!My Profile

      Reply
  • April January 24, 2012, 7:43 pm

    I was one of the ones affected. :( I am no longer able to use Walgreens. I hate it! I love the drive up window at Walgreens and refilling my scripts with their app. But now because some corporate people can’t agree on a price I have to go somewhere else. I gotta tell ya though, Walgreens tried to keep me. We tried using their Prescription Savings Card with my SDL card (like a coupon so I don’t overpay on my scripts) but no luck; it had to be ran through my insurance first.
    We have a CVS in town but I’ve had trouble with privacy at their pharmacy and so now I must go to Walmart. It’s okay, but the lines are always long and there’s no pick up window and no app. :(
    I hope that soon Walgreens and Express Scripts will reach an agreement and I will get a letter saying I can come back to them. Our Walgreens is awesome! I hate to lose them as a pharmacy and I know they hate to lose me as a customer.

    Reply
    • Bellesouth
      Twitter:
      January 25, 2012, 12:21 am

      Thanks for your story, April! I went to Walmart today and there was a BIG SIGN saying they accepted all these prescription plans. It’s a new sign so I know it has to be in response to this turn of events. It always makes me sad when customers have FEWER pharmacies to choose from. I have bought from pharmacies at four different stores and I’m glad I’ve always had the freedom to make my own decisions based on accessibility, wait time and price. With Walgreens out of the mix, customers are going to compromise the first two for the third. That’s not service at all.

      Reply

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