PHARMACY

Walgreens signs 500,000 and counting to its Prescription Savings Club

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — In its battle with Express Scripts, Walgreens is not only seeking to retain that prescription base payer by payer, but also patient by patient, as evidenced by the more than 500,000 customers who have taken advantage of Walgreens’ Prescription Savings Club since Jan. 1, according to company officials.

And while Walgreens has discounted that pre-existing savings program this month, the $25 in savings is not the primary reason patients are signing on in record numbers — it’s choice. “Being a patient [at Walgreens] for more than 15 years, I was very upset that Express Scripts wouldn’t cover my prescriptions," noted Walgreens pharmacy patient Janet Paz, who frequents a Walgreens in Lowell, Mass. "To me, it’s more than a pharmacy, it’s a friendship. When my pharmacist took the time to tell me about the Prescription Savings Club, we discovered that I could actually save on medications including one that my plan doesn’t even cover," she added.

The PSC card promotion is part of a comprehensive national effort by Walgreens to help patients who are covered by an Express Scripts pharmacy network continue using Walgreens when possible or make a smooth transition to another community pharmacy, the pharmacy operator stated. That program had been priced at $20 for individual and $35 for family, but for January Walgreens discounted that program to $5 for individual and $10 for family. According to Walgreens, the PSC program offers savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications. For more than 400 generic medications, Walgreens offers a three-month supply for less than $1 a week.

“We have heard from hundreds of thousands of patients that they want to preserve their relationship with Walgreens, and this is reflected by the incredible number of PSC members we have signed up this month," said Michael Polzin, Walgreens spokesman. "We know patients are feeling disrupted by the prospect of losing the access we provide, including 24-hour service and having the medication they need in stock, so we are pleased that so many of them have found a cost competitive solution in the form of our PSC card.”


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PHARMACY

AstraZeneca donates $3.8 million in medicine to AmeriCares

BY Allison Cerra

STAMFORD, Conn. — In an effort to help chronically ill Americans that rely on safety net clinics for their medical care, AstraZeneca has donated $3.8 million worth of prescription medicines to AmeriCares.

The drug maker said AmeriCares will deliver the medicines to free clinics and community health centers through its U.S. medical assistance program, which provides free medicines and medical supplies to 400 healthcare facilities serving the poor and uninsured across the United States. The AstraZeneca products are expected to benefit patients of about 100 clinics in 28 states.

This is the third consecutive year AstraZeneca has supported AmeriCares aid deliveries in the United States with such a donation, the companies said.


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Toys “R” Us leader appointed to Bristol-Myers Squibb board

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Bristol-Myers Squibb has appointed Toys “R” Us chairman and CEO Jerry Storch to its board of directors, the drug maker said.

Storch will serve as a member of Bristol’s audit committee and the compensation and management development committee.

“We are thrilled to have a person of Jerry’s caliber, an industry leader with an excellent track record of success in branding and positioning a global franchise for growth, on our board of directors,” Bristol CEO Lamberto Andreotti said.


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