"When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers" goes the adage. That is what seems to be happening in the prescription drugs arena. Recently the healthcare middleman Express Scripts Inc decided to exclude Walgreens from its network. This move will impact thousands of patients who need prescription drugs on a regular basis and also others who might need prescriptions filled.
How is this move by Express Scripts going to affect the consumer? Well let me start by telling you about Express Scripts, the healthcare middleman. This company is the liaison between pharmacies and the people who pay for healthcare plans - employers, insurance companies, etc. Express Scripts negotiates rates on both sides keeping the other oblivious of what rates they are paying or receiving.
This empowers them to keep enormous profit margins instead of making a modest commission which middlemen are entitled to. How does it affect consumers? Express Scripts can charge high to the employer and pay low to pharmacies which will make it very difficult for the latter to be viable and may even lead local community pharmacies to close down. Express Scripts can implicitly dictate where a consumer needs to go to buy drugs. With the agreement between Walgreens and Express Scripts falling apart consumers of the former will be forced to change their pharmacies and some will even have to drive farther to access the entity approved by the latter. This will end up causing immense hardship and inconvenience to the consumer.
Another large segment of the population that will be affected by this agreement is our service personnel. Our brave men and women soldiers and members of the armed forces are provided healthcare and prescription drug service by Tricare, a client of Expres Scripts. Now these people are also affected due to this spat.
During negotiations with Express Scripts, Walgreens offered a guarantee that they would match the rates of all other pharmacies in the network, but even then there was no deal forthcoming. This will affect our veterans, serving members of the forces and their families. All because Express Scripts has not been able to make a deal with Walgreens.
As a responsible company Walgreens has begun to offer consumers help with their prescription with programs such as the membership to its Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens at a discount. This will enable consumers to still be able to get their prescriptions filled at Walgreens at the same or lower costs to Express Scripts rates.
If you are one of the affected due to this split I would encourage you to take up a stance. Contact your local media, newspaper, television channel, or radio station and voice your opinions. If you are into social media support Walgreens by liking Walgreens on Facebook, following Walgreens on Twitter, etc.
If you have been a Walgreens customer for several years, you need to be worried.