Walgreens, CVS Waive Drug Delivery Fees To Ensure Access During COVID-19 Pandemic

Pharmacy giants Walgreens and CVS are taking extensive steps to ensure patient access to medications during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including waiving drug delivery fees and expanding telehealth options.

Pharmacy giants Walgreens and CVS are taking extensive steps to ensure patient access to medications during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including waiving drug delivery fees and expanding telehealth options.

CVS announced the expansion of resources on March 9, saying the steps “will help prevent interruption of medication availability.”1 In a press release, the company announced they were immediately waiving charges for delivery of prescription medications.1

“With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions,” CVS said in a press release.1

In addition, CVS Health managed care company Aetna is now offering 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members, and is working to extend the option to Medicaid members. The insurance provider is also waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for all CVS Caremark members.1

The press release noted that most Caremark clients already provide 90-day refill options for maintenance medications and home delivery options, but this new move aims to expand those benefits in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep individuals out of stores as much as possible.1

“When you’re in a position to increase convenience and help provide some peace of mind, you act,” said Troyen Brennan, MD, MPH, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Health, in the statement.1

Walgreens followed suit on March 12, announcing several new actions to support patients during the pandemic.2

Beginning March 13, the company waived delivery fees for eligible prescriptions and reminded patients of options such as Walgreens Pharmacy Chat, a telehealth app. Select products will also be available via drive-through window, according to the company’s press release.2

Walgreens also announced purchase limits for some products due to high demand in an effort to improve availability. Furthermore, purchases on the company’s website will have free delivery until further notice.2

The CDC is continuing to encourage at-risk individuals to stay home as much as possible, avoiding places where COVID-19 could be transmitted.3 In a CDC press conference Monday, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said people should have routine medications, OTC medical supplies, household items, and groceries at home to avoid going out.3

“Being committed to the welfare of those we serve means being responsive to evolving needs and acting swiftly,” Brennan said in the statement from CVS. “This is particularly true in times of uncertainty.”1

REFERENCES

  • CVS Health announces additional COVID-19 resources focused on patient access [news release]. CVS Health; March 9, 2020. https://cvshealth.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvs-health-announces-additional-covid-19-resources-focused-patient-access. Accessed March 18, 2020.
  • Walgreens Takes Further Action To Support Customers During COVID-19 Pandemic [news release]. Walgreens; March 12, 2020. https://news.walgreens.com/press-releases/general-news/walgreens-takes-further-action-to-support-customers-during-covid-19-pandemic.htm. Accessed March 18, 2020.
  • Transcript — CDC Media Telebriefing: Update on COVID-19. CDC; March 10, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0309-covid-19-update.html. Accessed March 18, 2020.