DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. recently struck a deal to offer prescription drugs directly to Caterpillar Inc. workers and retirees.
The agreement marks the second such program that the heavy equipment manufacturer has made with a community pharmacy chain. A year ago Caterpillar entered into a pilot program with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to determine if receiving direct prescriptions was feasible.
The Walgreens program, announced late last month, takes effect on January 1, when Wal-Mart’s pilot with Caterpillar is scheduled to end.
Caterpillar executives have called the Wal-Mart pilot a success, and the company has signed a two-year contract with the discount chain that also starts January 1.
Todd Bisping, Caterpillar’s pharmacy benefits manager, says the company opted to use Walgreens in addition to Wal-Mart because it wants to expand its health benefits programs to other pharmacies. At some point, he says, still other pharmacy chains could be added.
The program will cover around 70,000 Caterpillar employees, retirees and dependents.
Walgreens says its program with Caterpillar will be based on a transparency pricing model that is part of its Pharmacy Management Excellence program, and will provide employees and retirees with discounts on prescription drugs and a variety of over-the-counter medications.
“Transparency around pharmacy pricing, elimination of unnecessary and hidden costs in the prescription drug supply chain, and the opportunity to deliver lower-cost solutions effectively are in great demand by the employer community,” Bisping says. “We commend Walgreens for developing and embracing a transparent cost pharmacy pricing methodology.”
In addition, Walgreens and Caterpillar are said to be talking about expanding the program to have retail clinics on-site at or near some Caterpillar offices. Those services would come from Walgreens’ Complete Care and Well-Being program.
“We are doing everything possible to improve employees’ well-being and offer valuable health, wellness and pharmacy services where individuals work and live,” says Hal Rosenbluth, Walgreens’ senior vice president and president of the Walgreens Health and Wellness division.