Food and drug retailer Shop 'N Save is targeting Walgreens pharmacy patients with Express Scripts prescription drug benefit plans.

Shop 'N Save, Walgreens, pharmacy patients, Express Scripts, prescription drug benefit plan, prescription drug, Supervalu, food and drug retailer, supermarket chain, Chris Basler, CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid, Ed Kelly, Credit Suisse

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Shop 'N Save makes pitch to Walgreens Rx patients

December 29th, 2011

KIRKWOOD, Mo. – Food and drug retailer Shop 'N Save is targeting Walgreens pharmacy patients with Express Scripts prescription drug benefit plans.

The Supervalu Inc. supermarket chain said late Wednesday that it's ready to serve patients with Express Scripts drug plans that will no longer be accepted by Walgreens starting on Jan. 1. Because of a contract impasse, Walgreens this summer announced that it would not participate in the retail pharmacy network of Express Scripts in 2012.

Shop 'N Save, which serves the St. Louis metropolitan area and central Illinois, has 34 pharmacies in its 45 supermarket locations.

"Many Express Scripts patients may be concerned that they will not have a pharmacy to fill their prescriptions at the start of the new year," Chris Basler, pharmacy district manager at Shop 'N Save, said in a statement. "We want these patients to know that we welcome the opportunity to serve them and that, with 34 pharmacies, Shop 'N Save has the resources to meet their needs."

Shop 'N Save added that to help manage increased pharmacy patient volume, it plans to hire additional pharmacy associates and make other accommodations as needed.

The chain said it's urging Express Scripts plan members to transfer their prescriptions as soon as possible so that it will have the necessary time to add new prescriptions to its files and its pharmacists can have the medication ready when customers need it.

With no resolution to the Walgreens-Express Scripts dispute in sight, some pharmacy retailers have been angling to pick up prescription customers from Walgreens, which has said that its Express Scripts business represents roughly $5.3 billion in annual sales. For example, some CVS/pharmacy locations have put up signage welcoming Express Scripts drug plan members.

Credit Suisse analyst Ed Kelly last month estimated that, including front-end sales stemming from pharmacy traffic, CVS/pharmacy stands to gain at least $1.1 billion in sales from Walgreens because of the dispute with Express Scripts, while Rite Aid could pick up about $380 million in sales.

Kelly wrote in a research note, "Our analysis assumes the pickup in prescriptions by CVS and Rite Aid is proportional with their current market shares. In reality, we believe their gains will be bigger, given that Walgreens customers are more likely to switch to another chain pharmacy over independent pharmacies, mass merchants and supermarkets."