CVS Caremark and BlueCross/BlueShield of TN Divorcing Walgreens
June 14, 2010 3 Comments
From CVS Caremark, which manages pharmacy benefits for many insurance companies and benefit programs:
Walgreens’ Demands Would Have Increased Pharmacy Costs For Payors and Plan Members
WOONSOCKET, R.I., June 9, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS) today announced that, while it has worked diligently to come to terms with Walgreens on an agreement that would allow Walgreens to continue as a member of the CVS Caremark PBM pharmacy network, it has no choice but to terminate Walgreens’ participation in its retail pharmacy networks effective 30 days from today, or as otherwise may be required by applicable law or contract requirements. In addition, CVS Caremark will terminate Walgreens’ participation in its Medicare Part D retail pharmacy networks effective January 1, 2011. CVS Caremark said that Walgreens’ most recent actions have violated the terms of its existing agreements and that Walgreens has failed to respond to efforts by CVS Caremark to continue business negotiations.
DEERFIELD, Ill., June 9, 2010 – Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) today issued the following statement from Kermit R. Crawford, executive vice president of pharmacy, regarding CVS Caremark’s statement that it would terminate Walgreens participation in CVS Caremark’s retail pharmacy networks effective 30 days from today:
“We are disappointed but not surprised that CVS Caremark has taken this action. In making our decision not to participate in any new and renewed plans by CVS Caremark, we sought to minimize any disruption to existing relationships between pharmacists and patients. CVS Caremark’s move plainly contradicts its own statement on June 7 that their mission is to provide broad access and choice for consumers. Their patent disregard for patient choice and broad access reflected in today’s decision reinforces our conviction that it would not have been in the best interests of our patients, pharmacists or shareholders to grow our business with CVS Caremark. Regardless of CVS Caremark’s decision, we are confident of our ability to continue to grow our business as a provider in hundreds of other pharmacy benefit networks and as a direct provider to employers.
Walgreens has had to terminate relations itself to maintain profitability: WA State Walgreen’s to Stop Taking New Medicaid Patients.
My friend Lara, whose husband is in their insurance business, forwarded this email from BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee:
On June 9, 2010, CVS Caremark – the Pharmacy Benefits Manager for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – made the decision to terminate Walgreens’ participation in the CVS Caremark retail pharmacy networks effective July 9, 2010 (subject to state law and contractual obligations). This came two days after Walgreens informed CVS Caremark that it would not participate in CVS Caremark’s pharmacy retail networks going forward for members covered under new or renewed plans. As a result, BlueCross members will no longer be able to fill or refill their prescription at a Walgreens retail pharmacy, and will need to transfer that prescription to another pharmacy within the CVS Caremark retail pharmacy network before July 9, 2010.
BlueCross understands the impact this change could have on its members and is working closely with CVS Caremark to guarantee that effected members are communicated to quickly and offered options for their prescription drug needs, including:
- Delivering to BlueCross members – via U.S. Mail – with a list of alternative retail pharmacies in the network so they can preserve uninterrupted access to their pharmacy benefit and their prescriptions.
- Directing BlueCross members to other nearby network pharmacies through the “Find a Doctor” feature on bcbst.com or the “Find A Local Pharmacy” tool on CVS.com (registration required).
- Providing BlueCross members with answers to commonly asked questions through an FAQ found in the Pharmacy section of bcbst.com, www.bcbst.com/learn/pharmacy/.
Note that this change does not affect the Walgreens’ specialty pharmacy benefits (SpecRx) as BlueCross holds this contract directly with Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy. Additionally, this change does not affect BlueCross’ contract with Walgreens’ mail order service for non-ERISA groups.
BlueCross and CVS Caremark are committed to ensuring that no disruption in pharmacy benefits is experienced by members due to the termination of Walgreens’ participation in the CVS Caremark retail pharmacy networks. Frequent communications through email, U.S. Mail and bcbst.com are planned to assist all BlueCross customers – members, groups and brokers – during this transition period.