Walgreen Co. has agreed to continue filling Medicaid prescriptions in Delaware for another 30 days after previously announcing it would stop doing so as of Monday due to proposed cuts in pharmacy reimbursement rates.


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Walgreens extends deadline for Delaware Medicaid Rx

July 6th, 2009
Walgreens operates 66 Happy Harry's pharmacies in Delaware.

WILMINGTON, Del. – Walgreen Co. has agreed to continue filling Medicaid prescriptions in Delaware for another 30 days after previously announcing it would stop doing so as of Monday due to proposed cuts in pharmacy reimbursement rates.

The Delaware Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) said Monday that Walgreens, which operates 66 Happy Harry's pharmacies in Delaware, would remain a Medicaid provider until at least August 5. 

In the meantime, Delaware and the drug store chain will keep working to reach a solution over the state's decision to cut its Medicaid reimbursement rates to pharmacies, including ways to help the state meet its savings target for the program, according to DHSS.

Walgreens early last month called the proposed reductions "extreme" and said its Happy Harry's pharmacies would stop filling Medicaid prescriptions starting July 6.

"This extension gives both of us needed time to work out an agreement without impacting pharmacy care to Medicaid recipients," Kermit Crawford, senior vice president of pharmacy at Walgreens, said in a statement. "We're hopeful a compromise will be reached."

"I am pleased that both sides are at the table to look for a permanent solution that benefits everyone, including Delaware's taxpayers and Medicaid enrollees," commented DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf.

Late last month,Walgreens said that in negotiations with Delaware it offered to accept nearly two-thirds of the state's proposed cut in Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement rates. The company said at the time that it would exit the state's Medicaid program unless an agreement is reached.

According to Walgreens, half of Delaware’s Medicaid drug prescriptions are filled by Happy Harry’s and, under the current proposal, Happy Harry’s would lose money on 84% of the brand-name prescriptions it fills for the state's Medicaid program.

The drug chain has said it believes it could help Delaware attain the Medicaid prescription savings it seeks by boosting the dispensing of lower-cost generic drugs throughout the state’s pharmacy network.

Walgreens said Happy Harry’s fills 69% of Medicaid prescriptions with a generic, compared with 63% at all other pharmacies in the state. By bringing the other pharmacies up to Happy Harry’s generics-dispensing level, Delaware could save more than $7 million, according to the company.

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