Walgreen Co. has expanded its Prescription Savings Club to include hundreds more value-priced generic drugs and discounts on a broader range of other products and services.

Walgreens, Prescription Savings Club, value-priced generic drugs, generic medications, prescription needs, prescription drug coverage, Kermit Crawford, pharmacy, Take Care Clinic, health services, Rx savings club, Express Scripts, contract impasse, contract dispute, Russell Redman

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Walgreens unveils 'new and improved' Rx savings club

May 15th, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has expanded its Prescription Savings Club to include hundreds more value-priced generic drugs and discounts on a broader range of other products and services.

Walgreens said Tuesday that the "new and improved" program provides savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and generic medications, including over 700 generics for as low as $1 per week for a 90-day supply — 300 more generics than previously offered.

Other new features, the drug chain said, include a 10% discount on all Walgreens brand, W brand and Nice! products; 10% savings on Take Care Clinic health services; discounts of 5% to 20% on most immunizations; additional savings on diabetes management products and supplies; and discounts on a range of preventive and lifestyle medications not covered by many insurance plans.

Walgreens also noted that the club offers a risk-free guarantee: If members don't save at least the cost of their membership during the 12-month period, the retailer will reimburse the difference.

The chain added that the club also provides discounts on select pet medications with a human equivalent and includes benefits provided under the previous program, such as discounts on diabetic supplies, nebulizers and compounds.

Membership is $20 a year for individuals and $35 for a family, including pets. The club is open to people of all ages not enrolled in a publicly funded health care plan.

According to Walgreens, the Prescription Savings Club saves members an average of $170 a year. Customers can sign up at any of the more than 7,800 Walgreens stores nationwide as well as via Walgreens.com.

"In today's challenging economic and health care environment, Walgreens is focused on becoming a community health care provider to help people live well, stay well and get well, and our Prescription Savings Club is an affordable solution for millions of people who struggle to manage their prescription needs," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Adequate prescription drug coverage is a significant issue for millions of Americans, and this program is one of the ways we're helping people get the medications and health care services they need."

Walgreens cited studies finding that about one in four U.S. adults lacks sufficient prescription drug coverage and that 48% of uninsured Americans in fair or poor health went without a prescription drug because of cost concerns in 2010. In addition, Walgreens data shows improved medication adherence scores of almost 10% for Prescription Savings Club members. The chain noted that nonadherence to medications remains a huge barrier to treating illness and has been estimated to cost the nation's health care system $290 billion annually.

Amid its contract impasse with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Inc., Walgreens has positioned the Prescription Savings Club as an incentive for pharmacy customers to stay with the chain for their prescription needs.

As of Jan. 1, Walgreens no longer participated in the PBM's pharmacy provider network. Immediately thereafter, the chain offered a discount on the Prescription Savings Club membership fee during January, among other benefits, as part of a patient transition plan for those covered under Express Scripts drug benefit plans.

Walgreens reported a record number of signups for the club during the first week of the new year. However, the chain has seen its pharmacy business suffer during the contract dispute with Express Scripts.

Meanwhile, rivals CVS/pharmacy and Rite Aid, as well as supermarket chains and other retail pharmacy operators, have targeted Walgreens pharmacy customers with Express Scripts plans through marketing efforts. Both CVS/pharmacy and Rite Aid have cited the Walgreens-Express Scripts impasse as a contributor to recent gains in prescription volume.