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Walgreens Sends Letter to CVS Caremark Pharmacy Network – No More New CVS Plan Participants As It Disrupts With Inconsiste

Posted Jun 07 2010 9:53am

We are seeing a lot of new and different affiliations today everywhere in healthcare and the letter today according to this article states that no new CVS-Caremark individual plans will be accepted; however those who are currently enrolled will be honored.  It states further than Caremark pharmacy benefit management plans are inconsistent with their current values at Walgreens, so the link below might add some monetary insight here too, as how can those pharmacists cash in on the pay for performance cash cow offered from United Health Care as a simple example when they could capture more money without honoring another company’s plan.  It would seem to me that the CVS alliance could cut into the money being offered to image Walgreens and the YMCA in this instance.  Maybe it doesn’t make sense as with remodeled business plans things have now changed a bit?

Walgreens in April announced their mobile units, with sending out a fleet of buses to offer free screenings too and I would guess this is perhaps another opportunity to cash in here too.  The screenings are a good thing by all means, but take a look at the marketing behind all of this that comes along with it.  It is not just Walgreens though, they all are creating maneuvers of such.  AARP is closely tied with marketing health insurance policies from United Healthcare and a few others.

The 2 retail chains are also in stiff competition to work into being your “genetic benefit manager” too and in the last couple weeks there was the big scuttle about having the “box” over the counter to buy for genetic testing.  To the whole thing was built way out of whack as it was just a box and the usual efforts of going online and registering and the rest of the process has not changed and there are several others who offer this service, it was just that “box” that was the big area of concern and that’s what we get today with a distracted society sometimes that misses the overall processes and misses what’s really going on behind the scenes.  One of the reasons stated below too is that Walgreens is not sure as to how much money they will receive from CVS too. 

CVS Joins Walgreens With No DNA Box on the Shelf – But What About the Marketing to Consumers on Tests?

Again some of this is very useful but behind all of it is marketing and money as we as patients are out here to figure out where and what levels of participation are good for us and where marketing influences may push us over to where we may not want to go, yetWho will be the next insurer to march up to one of the big image retailers to offer pay for performance I wonder to capture the patient and get you enrolled versus the competition and will the pharmacists being led on to a much more aggressive role as a marketer in addition to advising you on the safety and dosage of your drugs?  I think we’ll see more of this coming down the tubes shortly as time moves forward.  BD 

In a letter today to CVS Caremark Corp, Walgreens  said that it will not participate as a provider in any new and renewed prescription drug plans awarded after June 7 to CVS Caremark's pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). The company said it had concluded that it was no longer in the best interests of its customers, pharmacists and shareholders to grow its future business with CVS Caremark. Current CVS Caremark plans in which Walgreens is already a pharmacy provider will not be affected.

-- CVS Caremark's promotion of prescription drug plan designs such as Maintenance Choice disrupts networks by requiring patients with chronic conditions in many plans to use CVS pharmacies or Caremark mail service facilities for their prescriptions instead of Walgreens. This limits patient choice and ends up separating patients from community pharmacists they know and trust at a Walgreens drugstore.

-- Currently, Walgreens receives no or little information when a CVS Caremark prescription drug plan is transferred to a different and differently-priced CVS Caremark pharmacy network, or when CVS Caremark acquires a new prescription drug plan as a client. Because of this, it is difficult to assess and decide in advance whether Walgreens should participate in new or altered CVS Caremark prescription drug plans.

-- The growing unpredictability of CVS Caremark reimbursement rates to Walgreens, and the fact that CVS Caremark's payments for certain drugs often don't reflect the market, has made it unacceptably difficult for Walgreens to reasonably and economically plan for and operate its business.

"In that time, we have come to feel that CVS Caremark's pharmacy benefit management practices are inconsistent with the value we provide as the largest pharmacy provider in its network and the services we deliver to patients, employers and payers. These services include our trusted pharmacists and clinicians who stand ready to deliver critical health care advice, convenient locations with drive-thru pharmacies and 24-hour pharmacies that provide access to emergency medications. Consequently, we have reached a point where participation in future CVS Caremark plans no longer makes sense for us."

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