Express Scripts, Inc. is open to continued negotiations with Walgreens to make prescription drugs affordable and accessible for American families.
"In these challenging economic times, it is critical that we all work together to keep medicines affordable and accessible," said Express Scripts' chairman and CEO George Paz. "It is shocking to us that Walgreens would back away from the table with six months to go in the current agreement, especially considering that negotiations are part of the normal course of business."
Walgreens made a series of assertions earlier today. Here is the Express Scripts perspective:
Market Conditions Require Competitive Rates
Walgreens' current rates are not competitive with its pharmacy peers. We are negotiating for Walgreens to provide competitive market rates. Over the next three years, the costs of non-specialty branded medications are projected to increase approximately 10 percent per year (more than 30 percent over three years), the costs of branded specialty medications are projected to increase more than 14 percent per year (nearly 50 percent over three years), and more than $60 billion worth of branded medications will lose patent protection, opening the door to more affordable generic alternatives. Without Walgreens providing reasonable adjustments to its rates, our clients and patients will bear the financial burden of branded price inflation, while not receiving the full economic benefit of increased generic utilization. Under Walgreens' current proposal, the added cost burden to our clients would result directly in profits to Walgreens.
Express Scripts Seeking No Other Changes to Contract Terms
Express Scripts has requested the same contract terms that were mutually agreed upon in the existing contract. To be clear, Express Scripts has not asked to change the definitions of branded and generic medicines.
Control of Pharmacy Benefit Plan Design Should Remain with Plan Sponsors
Walgreens wants to dictate which clients and members to serve, focusing on the most profitable patients. Neither network providers nor Express Scripts should control pharmacy benefit plan design. This is the sole responsibility of plan sponsors to represent the best interests of their members.
If Walgreens maintains its current stance, Medicare prescriptions filled at Walgreens would cost the federal government an additional $300 million for the exact same prescriptions that can be filled at more than 50,000 other pharmacies for a lower price, on average. Likewise, our other clients - including Medicaid and the Department of Defense - would experience comparable cost increases.
On average, another pharmacy within the Express Scripts network is within one-half mile of a Walgreens pharmacy. Even without Walgreens in our network, we meet all client guarantees for access.
Express Scripts is optimistic that Walgreens will return to the table and negotiate in good faith toward a common goal of providing optimal care at a reasonable and competitive rate for tens of millions of Americans.
About Express Scripts - Express Scripts, Inc., one of the largest pharmacy benefit management companies in North America, is leading the way toward creating better health and value for patients through Consumerology®, the advanced application of the behavioral sciences to healthcare. This approach is helping millions of members realize greater healthcare outcomes and lowering cost by assisting in influencing their behavior. Headquartered in St. Louis, Express Scripts provides integrated PBM services including network-pharmacy claims processing, home delivery services, specialty benefit management, benefit-design consultation, drug-utilization review, formulary management, and medical and drug data analysis services. The company also distributes a full range of biopharmaceutical products and provides extensive cost-management and patient-care services. More information can be found at www.express-scripts.com/ and www.consumerology.com