Retailer remains in CVS Caremark Medicare Part D network.
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health announced Tuesday that Walmart has opted to leave the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) commercial and Managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks. Such a transition must place patient care as the highest priority and, as such, CVS Caremark has requested that Walmart continue to fill prescriptions as an in network participating pharmacy through April 30, 2019. This transition does not impact Walmart’s participation in the CVS Caremark Medicare Part D pharmacy network. In addition, Walmart’s Sam’s Club division remains in the CVS Caremark pharmacy networks. Walmart’s termination from the CVS Caremark commercial and Managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks is not expected to have a material impact on the financial results of the Company in 2019.
“At a time when everyone is working hard to find ways to reduce health care costs, Walmart’s requested rates would ultimately result in higher costs for our clients and consumers,” said Derica Rice, president, CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefit management business of CVS Health. “While we have enjoyed a long relationship with Walmart as a low cost provider in our broad national networks, based on our commitment to helping our clients and consumers manage rising pharmacy costs, we simply could not agree to their recent demands for an increase in reimbursement.”
Ensuring Members Have Access to Medication
Our focus now is an orderly transition for any impacted plan members and ensuring we place patient care as our highest priority. With continuity of care in mind, we have requested that Walmart continue to fill prescriptions as an in network participating pharmacy through April 30, 2019. We continue to work with Walmart to align on that timing. CVS Caremark’s priority will be to ensure members do not have a disruption in therapy and that their transition to a new pharmacy is simple and easy. Members affected by this network change will be notified and will have access to information to help them identify nearby in-network pharmacies where they can fill their prescriptions, including independently-owned, community-based pharmacies, other local pharmacies in grocery stores and mass merchants, as well as regional and national chains.
Currently, less than 5% of affected CVS Caremark members use Walmart exclusively to fill their prescriptions. The retail pharmacy network is well-positioned, even without Walmart, to provide members with access to a local pharmacy. With more than 63,000 other pharmacies that will remain in the CVS Caremark national pharmacy network, the network continues to exceed industry benchmarks with regards to network pharmacy access by a significant margin without Walmart. In fact, the average distance that a member would need to travel to reach an in-network pharmacy, without Walmart in the network, remains virtually unchanged.
“As CVS Caremark begins to prepare clients and members for a transition,” said Rice, “we are hopeful that Walmart will agree to work amicably with us in the best interest of patients. CVS Caremark’s priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to their medications during this transition period. We also remain open to continuing timely good faith negotiations with Walmart in the hopes of reaching an agreement to provide quality pharmacy care at a reasonable cost.”