Contract disputes are no fun, particularly for consumers caught in the middle. Walgreens and Express Script failed to reach an agreed upon contract by the end of last year, leaving many consumers, including military members on Tricare, in a lurch. Because of the inability of the parties to come to an agreement, Walgreens is no longer a part of the Express Scripts pharmacy provider network as of 12/31/11.
This means that affected customers who prefer to have their prescriptions filled at Walgreens are no longer able to do so. Individuals generally have a preference for pharmacies - it may be due to the level of service provided, a personal relationship with the pharmacist, or just because it's close to home or work. The loss of Walgreens as a provider will negatively affect many, who are now having to move their prescriptions elsewhere, which may mean they need to drive further. Though I'm not affected by this contract dispute, I do have a preferred pharmacy and I would be upset if my insurer suddenly dropped it from the network. I live in a small town and the next pharmacy is quite a drive away. It would truly be a burden to me to have to drive.
Meanwhile, Walgreens is trying to help those affected by offering a special discount on an annual membership to the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. For $10 a year, you can get a family membership that covers everyone (spouse, dependents younger than 22 -- even pets!). Not married? Individuals can join for just $5. With their Prescription Savings Club, you'll receive discount prices on prescriptions (8,000 brand name/generic). The savings don't just stop with prescription medications. The Savings Club also means discounts on things like flu shots, diabetic supplies, and more. Plus, you'll also receive bonuses when you make purchases of Walgreens brand items and photofinishing services.
Are you affected by this contract dispute and want to weigh in? Please feel free to comment below. Though not affected, I do live near an area that has a lot of servicemen/women and retirees. I hope this gets sorted out soon!