WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) joined the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and more than 130 organizations, community leaders, health care professionals, and people of faith from urban neighborhoods and inner-cities across the country urging Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI) to come to an agreement with Walgreens that would allow the nation's largest pharmacy chain to remain in its network after December 31, 2011. In a letter released today, AAPD urged ESI to reach, "a swift and fair agreement" in order to protect access to pharmacy services for hundreds of millions of Americans.
"Like AAPD, we strongly urge Express Scripts to put the people of our communities at the forefront of this issue because the imminent loss of access to the critical pharmacy services Walgreens provides will be devastating to our communities," said Harry Alford, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. "Walgreens has been committed to serving urban neighborhoods since its founding 110 years ago and continues to serve communities throughout the United States where quality health care services are scarce. We strongly urge ESI to put our communities at the forefront of this issue."
In the letter, AAPD outlines the importance of Walgreens to its members, including people with disabilities and their family, friends, and supporters, that will be lost if the current contract expires on December 31st.
"Walgreens serves as a reliable source of health care and convenience for the disability community and is a valued partner in maintaining consistent care and information for some of our most vulnerable citizens," the AAPD letter states. "Access to consistent and good health care, pharmacy and information is an on-going battle for Americans with disabilities and Walgreens plays a key role in helping to provide the consistency and level of access needed."
The letter echoes concerns recently expressed by NBCC and others in a letter sent to Express Scripts regarding the potential impact of failed negotiations on minority and lower-income communities – including loss of access to a valued community partner.
Express Scripts, Inc. is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company that administers pharmacy services for health insurance plans and programs such as the U.S. military's health care plan (TRICARE), certain Medicare Part D plans and numerous employer-provided plans. If a consumer's prescription drug benefits are managed, through their health insurance, by Express Scripts, that consumer may only obtain medications at pharmacies with which Express Scripts has contracts in place. Throughout the course of 2011, Express Scripts has been unwilling to reach a fair agreement with Walgreens on a contract beginning January 1, 2012.
SOURCE National Black Chamber of Commerce