"2012 was definitely an important year for Walgreens," Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO, told shareholders here Wednesday afternoon at the chain's annual shareholder meeting. "We did make some tough choices to protect and solidify … our position for the long term," he said. "[But] our vision is crystal clear to become the first choice for health and daily living in America."
The days of Walgreens quarterly conference calls focusing primarily on lost prescriptions from the Express Scripts pharmacy network soon may be over with the retail pharmacy's announcement early Tuesday morning that Walgreens and the U.K. pharmacy operation Alliance Boots would merge.
On the eve of a potential Federal Trade Commission approval of the Express Scripts-Medco merger, Walgreens' underlying fundamentals still are strong, Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson told analysts Tuesday.
Viewed through an Express Scripts lens, Walgreens' new hire announcement — naming Robyn Peters to group VP managed market sales — may appear timely. The drug store chain is approaching an aggressive marketing overture behind its entire lineup of healthcare proficiency during the first pharmacy benefit manager selling season that it is no longer part of the Express Scripts pharmacy network.
As Walgreens girds itself for life outside of the Express Scripts pharmacy network, company executives, over the course of a Wednesday morning first-quarter conference call, continued to maintain that they, along with healthcare payers and employers, will be better off for it.
Walgreens on Wednesday again made its case for keeping its more than 8,000 points of care in the Express Scripts pharmacy network: Excluding Walgreens will not afford Express Scripts' customers any cost savings.
Walgreens took to the road the week before Thanksgiving to talk turkey with analysts on why Walgreens is a good bet going into 2012, even if the pharmacy won't be participating in the Express Scripts pharmacy network this coming year.
Walgreens mitigated projected repercussions out of the chain's withdrawal from the Express Scripts pharmacy network come January, as the Walgreens/Express Scripts failed negotiations again dominated the pharmacy's quarterly analyst call Tuesday morning.