This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Walgreens and Express Script have spent the past year in negotiations but negotiations were unsuccessful in coming to an agreement and the contract expired at the end of 2011. Walgreens stores nationwide are no longer part of Express Scripts’ pharmacy provider network as of Jan. 1, 2012. The situation has caused patients to scurry to find new pharmacies to use their in-network benefits and they are not seeing an reduction or saving in costs. In fact, the change has only proven to bring an increase in inconveniences and problems. Patients covered by an Express Scripts plan now find themselves not only having to change their pharmacists, but many are looking at having to drive farther to get prescriptions filled at pharmacies with less convenient hours for their hectic schedules.

Tricare, one of Express Scripts’ clients, is the health and prescription drug program for America’s military service men and women. During the negotiations, Walgreens offered Express Scripts an ironclad guarantee that Walgreens prices would match or beat the average costs per adjusted prescription of all other pharmacies in the Tricare network. Walgreens attempted this action in an effort to prevent our country’s military personnel from being caught in the middle. Walgreens also offered to contract separately with Express Scripts for Tricare from other commercial business, but these offers were all rejected.

Only patients with certain prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts are impacted by this recent development. You can check with your local Walgreens pharmacist to find out if your plan has been directly impacted. If it the back of your prescription card does not say Express Scripts, then you are most likely not affected. Walgreens, in an effort to minimize the disruption, is currently offering a special discount on annual membership for its Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. An individual can join for only $5 or get a family membership for just $10, and receive savings on more than 8,000 brand name and all generic medications. More than 400 generics are available with a three-month supply for less than $1 a week. Plus, the membership offers discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies. Regular annual membership after the January promotion will be $20 for an individual and $35 for a family.

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