Alexandria, Va. - July 19, 2012 National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement today regarding the deal announced jointly by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts:
“The announcement from Express Scripts and Walgreens includes little detail on the specifics of their agreement. How the deal really impacts patients and the local pharmacists who care for them will not become clear until additional details come to light (or as time passes).
“Regardless, the extended Express Scripts-Walgreens dispute highlights a number of important issues for patients, health plan sponsors (employers, et. al) and pharmacists.
“First, this long-running dispute is emblematic of the uneven PBM/pharmacy ‘relationship.’ The fact that a mega-chain like Walgreens with the negotiating leverage of 8,000-plus pharmacy locations had prolonged difficulty reaching what it considers equitable terms with a major PBM makes obvious that the take-it-or-leave-it contracts that PBMs make to small business community pharmacies are that much more one-sided. This reinforces the need for pro-patient, pro-pharmacist policies — such as the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (H.R. 1971/S. 1058) – that advance a more level playing field.
“Second, independent community pharmacists and their patients need to engage in grassroots efforts. They should support reforms and health plan designs that properly align to the interests of payers and patients, while also focusing on proper utilization of pharmacists. Learn more at www.whorunsmydrugplan.com.”