Deadline nears for Express Scripts and Walgreens agreement on pharmacy rates

This Saturday is the deadline for St. Louis-based Express Scripts and Walgreens to reach a deal on pharmacy drug rates. As Maria Altman reports from St. Louis,… if no agreement is reached… those who use Express Scripts will not be able to fill prescriptions at Walgreens in the New Year.

The two companies have been at loggerheads over how much Walgreens should reimburse pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts for drug prescriptions. The nation’s largest drugstore, Walgreens, says on January 1stmany patients could lose access to a pharmacy… or at least one that’s 24-hour.

But Express Scripts argues there is another pharmacy within a half mile of most Walgreens stores. Spokesperson Thom Gross says none of their customers will lose access to a pharmacy: “Well, there are market where Walgreens is very dominant. But with each of our clients we have guarantees for geographic access. That means a number of network stores within a certain distance of their members. And we were able to meet all those geographical access guarantees for all of our clients without Walgreens in our network.”

Walgreens says Express Scripts turned down its latest proposal… and has said further negotiations should take place next month.