WASHINGTON (AP) — The Walgreen pharmacy chain will begin filling
prescriptions from customers in the Express Scripts network again starting
in September under a new multiyear contract that ends a costly impasse
between the companies.
The agreement announced Thursday follows a series of disputes between
Walgreen and Express Scripts that ended with the discontinuation of the
contract between the drugstore operator and the pharmacy benefit manager
Since January, Walgreen has not filled prescriptions for Express Scripts,
saying the company was not paying enough in drug dispensing fees. Its sales
have slumped since the split.
Shares of Walgreen Co. jumped $3.55, or 11.5 percent, to $34.52 in morning
trading Thursday while Express Scripts shares rose $1.09, or 1.9 percent, to
Express Scripts Holding Co. said it ended the contract with Walgreen because
the drugstore operator wanted a premium compared to what Express Scripts
paid other pharmacies. Walgreen Co. had said it would rather give up the
revenue than continue filling unprofitable prescriptions.
The companies said in a statement Thursday that Walgreen will rejoin the
network of pharmacies available to Express Scripts customers starting Sept.
15. Terms of the new contract were not disclosed.
“We are in the business of providing a broad range of pharmacy, health and
wellness services to help meet the needs of all of our customers,” said Greg
Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreens, in a statement. “I am pleased that
Walgreens and Express Scripts have been able to reach an agreement that
works for both parties and is consistent with our company’s principles.
Before the companies’ contract lapsed, Express Scripts filed a lawsuit
against Walgreen, accusing the drugstore chain of trying to lure away its
customers. The lawsuit alleged that Walgreen told Express Scripts plan
members, and especially Medicare Part D beneficiaries, that they would not
be able to fill their prescriptions at Walgreen pharmacies unless they left
Express Scripts and switched to a new pharmacy benefits management plan.
Express Scripts administers prescription drug benefits for health plan
sponsors and members, and it pays drugstores like Walgreen to fill