Sunday, January 15, 2012

Walgreens Prescription Savings

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
~post by Jeff~
I am a medium size business owner in a small town near an Air Force base.  My business was established in 1978 and provides jobs for 16 employees as a service business.  There are three important things we believe in a small town and honestly they are values I hold dear to my heart.  The three things are: Support the local church, support our troops, and buy local spending your money to support local businesses that supply jobs and services to our little community.  My wife and three boys eat locally, buy our groceries locally, visit the hometown doctor, and purchase all of our medication and drug store needs at Walgreens--our community pharmacy.
Before Christmas, Smitty, the Walgreen's Pharmicist and a friend of mine invited me to lunch.  Smitty and I served in the Air Force together, I left the service after serving my time as an officer but Smitty still serves in the Reserves.  Two of my son's are active Air Force and my wife is a retired Air Force Officer.  Smitty looked very sad during our lunch and I quickly became concerned because he is always the most jovial man in the world.  He said to me, "My heart is very heavy because Walgreens and Express Script contract expires at midnight December 31, 2011.  After a long contract negotiation ended with an unsuccessful outcome."  This was hard news for me and quickly I shared the same mood as Smitty.  The group health insurance plan I purchased is managed by Express Scripts, my wife as a veteran and military retiree, and my two boys depend on Tricare which is the military health and prescription drug program for the military is a client of Express Scripts.  He continued to pour his heart out to me, "They are not customers to me," he said, "they are members of the community, your employees, families, friends, neighbors, people I sing in the choir with, or assist with their medication needs, people just trying to make ends meet and stay healthy.  Now, they will be forced to drive to the next town 30 miles away or buy their medications from a pharmacy open 12 hours a day which is not suitable to an elderly customer base or even the working class in this area.  Walgreens Prescription Savings Club offers more 24-hour and drive thru pharmacies than any other pharmacy in the country and many times this benefit has saved many in the community including my family hours of symptom and illness related pain and suffering.  I asked Smitty it it had to do with money and Walgreen's and he said Walgreen's offered to hold rates flat to avoid any major breaks in services and did not seek an increase.  Express Scripts wanted to define brand and generic drugs and proposed to slash the reimbursement rates to levels below the industry average cost to provide each prescription.  In fact Express Scripts itself stated clients will not see any significant savings from excluding Walgreens. In fact, costs may even go up without Walgreens because Walgreen's is so competitive because their pricing and additional savings by dispensing less expensive generic drugs more often than other pharmacies, and savings through 90-day supplies of medications at the retail pharmacies versus three, 30-day refills.  We finished our lunch and he gave me their website and encouraged me to read it for myself. I left the cafeteria and went home to follow his advice--read it for myself.
I quickly learned Express Scripts could offer substantial savings to its clients by promoting 90-day refills at retail pharmacies, but it conflicts with its own mail order 90-day prescription business which brings in huge profits.  Most pharmacies have broke even or lost money in the last few years while Express Scripts has made money more than two times the average for the health care business.  The sad part is this puts our military directly in the middle. During negotiations, Walgreens took a bold step offering to negotiate a separate contract with a strict guarantee that Walgreen's prices would match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies in the Tricare network.  Walgreens did this in an effort to prevent our country’s military personnel from being caught in the middle. These efforts were rejected.
Walgreen's does not give up trying to serve their customers trying to minimize the disruption by offering a special discount on it's annual membership for its Prescription Savings Club. An individual can join during a special January promotion for only $5 reduced from $20, or $10 for a family membership origionally $35.  Members receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name drugs and more than 400 generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. 
In an additional effort to make this transition as seamless as possible Walgreen's has a national plan to help customers continue to use Walgreens as much as possible and take care of as many as possible since they are forced to leave Walgreens in order to use their in-network coverage.

Check with your pharmacist to see if you are impacted by looking on the back of your insurance card to see if it has Express Scripts name.  If so, then you may be affected.

A very effective way to support Walgreens is like them on Walgreens on Facebook, follow them on Walgreens on Twitter and tell your friends to do the same.
Facebook Twitter StumbleUpon Digg Delicious Reddit Technorati Mixx Linkedin


  1. I agree. We should support our local businesses. And that was a really nice post for Walgreens.

  2. thank you so much for sharing, great info :-)