Walgreens, ESI dispute moves to arbitration following court decision

Both companies say they're satisfied with decision

CHICAGO — U.S. District Court judge Marvin Aspen ruled in favor of Walgreens on Thursday; Express Scripts' federal suit against Walgreens will be halted pending arbitration.

The Express Scripts charges against Walgreens of breach of contract now will move to arbitration. Express Scripts originally had objected to arbitration because the process would be too slow. However, there may be some sense of urgency as Judge Aspen scheduled a status hearing for Dec. 8.

"We are very pleased with the court's decision today, in which Judge Aspen agreed that Express Scripts brought its claims in the wrong forum, granted our motion and ordered Express Scripts to abide by its contractual obligations and submit the matter to binding arbitration," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin said.

Express Scripts also was satisfied with the ruling. "We are pleased the court recognized the importance of getting this decided quickly," Thom Gross, Express Scripts senior manager communications, shared with Drug Store News in an email. "The court effectively said delay is not an option. We are perfectly happy to go to arbitration — we just want a quick resolution," he noted. "We will continue to pursue injunctive relief either in arbitration or in federal court."

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