LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Walgreens-Express Scripts account left misleading impression

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | 11:22 a.m. CDT; updated 11:55 a.m. CST, Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Express Scripts spokesman quoted in the story “Contract between Walgreens and Express Scripts in Jeopardy” (Sept. 13) left the misleading impression that Walgreens is “uncompetitive” compared to other pharmacies that do business with Express Scripts.

Walgreens is proud to provide quality, cost-effective pharmacy services to many Missouri residents, including those covered by employer-based health care plans, members, retirees and families covered by the military health insurance program, otherwise known as TRICARE, and seniors covered by certain Medicare Part D plans.

We have worked hard to reach a contract renewal agreement with Express Scripts to continue serving its clients and patients in 2012 and beyond.  

To that end, we have offered a number of cost-saving concessions, which, in effect, would hold annual average prescription reimbursement cost increases to within an estimated two percent annually over the next three years.

For employer-based plans, such as the plan covering the University of Missouri system, Walgreens has also offered the option, if contractually permissible, of contracting directly with Walgreens to ensure continued access to our 7,800 pharmacies.  

Plan sponsors can easily compare Walgreens proposed rates and terms to their existing contract terms to see if they will benefit.  

We have also offered Express Scripts, for the benefit of TRICARE, an ironclad guarantee that the average cost per adjusted prescription for TRICARE beneficiaries would be no more than the average cost per adjusted prescription of the non-Walgreens retail pharmacies in the TRICARE network.

This directly challenges the assertions made by Express Scripts, which leave a false impression on the reader.  

In addition, the Express Scripts spokesperson failed to mention that the value of Walgreens is best reflected in the full scope of its pharmacy, health and wellness services that include retail, specialty, infusion and mail service pharmacies, in-store medical clinics, employer worksite clinics and respiratory services.

These services improve health outcomes and lower overall health care costs for employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector.  Each year, 72 million patients receive health care services from Walgreens.

These actions show our commitment to provide cost-effective benefits and services to all who use Walgreens.  We hope to continue to be able to serve as a top pharmacy of choice for Missouri residents, regardless of their health plan.

Kermit R. Crawford is Walgreen's president of pharmacy, health and wellness.

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