WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- RetireSafe, a 400,000-supporter strong grassroots organization that advocates and educates on behalf of America's seniors on issues regarding Social Security, Medicare, health and financial well-being, today urged Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI) to return to the negotiating table, and come to an agreement with Walgreens. As of January 1, patients whose pharmacy benefit plans are managed by Express Scripts, Inc., a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), no longer have in-network coverage of prescriptions filled at Walgreens.
"Walgreens is a valued community partner upon which seniors and their families rely. As a representative of these Americans in communities across the country, we urge Express Scripts to put the health and safety of retired Americans first and to return swiftly to contract negotiations with Walgreens," said Thair Phillips, President of RetireSafe. "The loss of these services is already proving to be detrimental to the health and safety of retired Americans."
In a letter to Express Scripts, the organization expressed the impact of Express Scripts' decision not to cover prescriptions filled at Walgreens on its members.
"We are well aware that Walgreens provides services well beyond simply filling prescriptions. In fact, they offer 24-hour access, immunizations, walk-in health care centers, and medication management programs," the letter states. "Denying retired Americans access to these services is much more than a business decision -- it is one that will directly affect the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of seniors. By denying access to these services, Express Scripts also assaults Americans' ability to retire safely by chipping at health security, which is one of retirement's major cornerstones."
Since it was founded more than 110 years ago, Walgreens has been committed to underserved communities. Today, there are nearly 8,000 stores nationwide that serve 40 million consumers every week and are within walking distance of almost two-thirds of all Americans. This kind of access is critical to retirees and seniors, who rely heavily on their trusted community pharmacist for their daily health.
"Access to quality health care should not be a worry that Americans are forced to face as they grow older. Nor should seniors be denied the freedom to make their own choices when it comes to their personal health care decisions," Phillips continued. "We urge Express Scripts to keep the interests of older Americans in mind as you proceed, just as we will keep your actions in front of the men and women we represent across the nation," Phillips concluded.
(Express Scripts, Inc. is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company that administers pharmacy services for health insurance plans and programs. 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. Despite Walgreens' best efforts to negotiate throughout the course of 2011, Express Scripts has been unwilling to come to fair and reasonable terms with Walgreens on a contract renewal agreement and as of January 1 has stopped covering prescriptions filled at Walgreens.)
RetireSafe is a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots senior advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.