Walgreens' Medco book of business not jeopardized by merger, retailer says

Chain says it intends to honor contract with PBM

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In the wake of an approved Express Scripts-Medco merger, Walgreens reiterated its consensus that Walgreens' participation in Medco's pharmacy network would continue without disruption.

"We have a good relationship with Medco and an ongoing contract in place that we intend to honor," Walgreens' spokesman Jim Cohn shared with DSN in an email. "We are pleased that Express Scripts said today that it, too, intends to honor Medco’s contract with us."

In early afternoon trading, shares of Walgreens were up 3.3% to $34.60, but that may be because of speculation that Walgreens would soon settle its contract dispute with Express Scripts. "UBS expects the deal as soon as April or May and even raised its price target for Walgreen to $39," Forbes reported on Saturday.

According to a Walgreens second-quarter conference call held last week, Express Scripts represented 88 million prescriptions for Walgreens in 2011, compared with 125 million prescriptions associated with Medco members. Walgreens' Medco book is shrinking, however, to 108 million prescriptions at the top of 2012 and a projected 74 million prescriptions at the top of 2013, due to expected health plan migration out of the Medco pharmacy benefit manager offering.

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