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Walgreens releases patient-level strategy to either keep or help transition ESI prescriptions


DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday unveiled a plan to help Express Scripts patients to either continue using Walgreens when possible or to make a smooth transition to another community pharmacy. The plan seeks to minimize patient disruption and inconvenience, the pharmacy operator stated.

“In recent days, we are hearing more and more from our customers and patients that they are upset about losing access to Walgreens pharmacies as a result of Express Scripts’ actions,” Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson said. “Our pharmacy patients have come to depend on their longstanding, personal relationships with their trusted Walgreens pharmacists, and they don’t want to give that up. Because of the trust they have in their Walgreens pharmacist, many patients are asking us about ways that they can continue accessing our pharmacy, health and wellness services. As a result, we are undertaking a comprehensive plan to continue serving our patients when possible, and in other cases help them make a smooth transition and minimize the disruption and inconvenience they may face.”

The Walgreens plan for Express Scripts members includes a special discount during January on the annual membership fee for the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. Walgreens also is providing additional pharmacist and staff consultations and is providing coupons for discounted health and wellness products and gift cards to eligible Express Scripts members.

On Tuesday, Walgreens reported that "tens of thousands" of patients already have applied for the Walgreens PSC.

Walgreens said it will continue to work closely with employers, health plans and mid-tier PBMs that wish to maintain access to the company’s pharmacies and expanding health and wellness services. According to Walgreens, more than 120 Express Scripts clients to date have informed Walgreens that they have either switched to a different PBM or taken other steps, consistent with their contracts, to maintain access to Walgreens pharmacies in 2012.

PSC is an existing Walgreens drug discount program, with nearly 2 million people enrolled. The program offers savings on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications. For more than 400 generic medications, Walgreens offers a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. Normal annual membership is $20 per individual or $35 for a family. For the month of January Walgreens is offering a promotion on one-year memberships, making them only $5 for individuals or $10 for family memberships. This discount is open to all PSC eligible customers.

The initiative also will apply to Duane Reade stores.

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