DEERFIELD, Ill. The battle between Walgreens and the state of Washington over Medicaid presciptions is far from over.
The drug store chain announced that it is ceasing the acceptance of new Washington Medicaid patients effective April 16. This marks another battle in the long war between the two, in which Walgreens has threatened to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions in the Evergreen State altogether. Walgreens, which operates 121 pharmacies in Washington, originally planned to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions in February at 64 of its stores across the state because of continued reduction in reimbursement under the state’s program. That decision was delayed while negotiations continued over the last month.
Under its current pharmacy payment structure, Washington Medicaid is reimbursing Walgreens below its cost to break even on nearly 95% of brand name medications dispensed to Medicaid patients, Walgreens said.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed that the alternatives we’ve suggested have failed to achieve a compromise,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens EVP pharmacy. “We intend to continue our commitment to serving our existing patients, but we simply can not take on additional losses. As we seek to find a solution, we remain hopeful that our continued work with the State Department of Social and Health Services will ultimately result in maintaining access to quality pharmacy care for those most in need.”