Newspaper links Pittsburgh pharmacy industry to change in prescription policy

PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday linked an expanding pharmacy industry—with heavyweights Walgreens, Rite Aid and the Pittsburgh-headquartered Giant Eagle all battling for marketshare—to a change earlier this year in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s prescription drug policy.

UPMC’s health plan covers some 450,000 lives in the Pittsburgh area.

As of Jan. 1, UPMC partnered with Express-Scripts as its pharmacy benefit manager, ending Giant Eagle’s exclusivity with UPMC and opening the pharmacy benefit to Kmart, Rite Aid, Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens.

“It was just more fuel for the competitive fire spurring on the pharmacy operators who want the chance to gain share in this, one of the more appealing drug store markets in the country by virtue of its growing silver-haired population,” the Post-Gazette wrote. “That diagnosis helps explain the outbreak of Walgreens stores that seem to be erupting from every prime piece of landscape across the region.”

According to the paper, Walgreens plans to double its store count of 16 by next year and has recently rezoned its district map to include a Pittsburgh north district.

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