Walgreens may be adding a new, upscale and/or “urban” location in Chicago, but the company is subtracting something kind of essential to the whole “pharmacy” vibe- a widespread prescription plan, Express Scripts.
So you may be able to get finer cigars, sushi and wine at the fancier Walgreens, but if your plan is Express Scripts and you want your medications, you may have to pay out of pocket. It’s not so much a decision as the product of a dispute between Walgreens and Express Scripts, NPR reports- although it depends on who you ask about the controversy. According to Express Scripts spokesman Brian Henry, the nationwide pharmacy chain was jacking up its rates significantly and placing an undue burden on consumers- perhaps to pay for that humidor?
“Their rates and terms would be as much as 20 percent more,” Henry says, “and our clients aren’t willing to pay that premium for basically the same service you can get at many other thousands of our pharmacies.”
Walgreens, however, says that the allegations are untrue- although the company did not cite numbers. Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin explained:
“We did not propose any increase in our rates. So there would not be any significant savings to Express Scripts clients for excluding Walgreens from their network. So it’s really a situation of all pain and no gain for their clients.”
The NPR piece points out that customers of Walgreens who are members of WellPoint are among those affected by the Walgreens/Express Scripts dispute. Do you have to switch away from Walgreens now that they no longer accept Express Scripts?