WASHINGTON: Pharmacy chain Walgreens and benefits manager Express Scripts are conducting dueling campaigns as the companies' contact nears its end.
Their deal is set to expire December 31 because the two sides reportedly cannot agree on compensation for Walgreens. At that point, many consumers whose prescription drugs are handled by Express Scripts would not be able to fill their prescriptions at Walgreens.
Express Scripts has augmented its communications strategy by targeting consumers via letter, email, and outbound phone call to ease the company's transition away from the drugstore chain. It also launched a microsite encouraging customers to “find another pharmacy now.”
Brian Henry, senior director of public affairs at Express Scripts, said more than 99% of its clients have indicated they will stay with the company.
Walgreens said more than a quarter-million US military personnel enrolled in the Defense Department's Tricare pharmacy benefits program have signed petitions demanding access to its pharmacies. Tricare is an Express Scripts customer.
The petition is part of the drugstore chain's “I Choose Walgreens” effort.
Meanwhile, Walgreens has also shifted its focus to negotiate a renewal deal with Tricare separately from Express Scripts “to continue to provide Walgreens services on an uninterrupted basis to all active and retired military personnel,” the company said in a statement. Tricare insures 6 million people, Walgreens added.
Austin Camacho, chief of public affairs at Tricare, said the government organization is staying out of the conflict, which it sees as a dispute between Express Scripts and Walgreens. He added that its beneficiaries can go to approximately 56,000 other pharmacies in the US.
A Walgreens spokesperson declined comment.