Lupin 2023

Walgreens turns up heat in Washington

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SEATTLE — Walgreen Co. is set to stop accepting new Medicaid patients in its Washington state pharmacies as of April 16.

The chain, which operates 121 pharmacies in Washington, originally planned to stop filling Medicaid prescriptions in February at 64 stores because of a continued reduction in pharmacy reimbursements. That deadline was extended while negotiations with the state continued.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that the alternatives we’ve suggested have failed to achieve a compromise,” says Kermit Crawford, executive vice president of pharmacy at Walgreens. “We intend to continue our commitment to serving our existing patients, but we simply cannot 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,” Crawford adds.

The most recent pharmacy payment reduction results from a Massachusetts court ruling last fall that reduced the industry pricing standard, even though pharmacies’ acquisition costs haven’t changed.

While many private insurance providers have adjusted pharmacy reimbursement rates to limit the impact of the court ruling, Washington’s Medicaid program has yet to do so.

That has led to significantly lower payments to pharmacies, which has severely impacted the economic viability of doing business in Washington, according to Walgreens.


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