That, I imagine, is what the mission statement for a company known as “Express Scripts:” Suck all the money out of people’s lives while placing their health at risk. But they probably put it in lawyerese.
Express Scripts, in case you didn’t know, is a middleman health company. It enters into contracts with health insurers and drug stores, getting payments from health insurers and giving the money to drugstores.
That’s all. That’s why Express Scripts exists: it’s a conduit for money that would be paid anyway.
But as a conduit, it’s an amazingly profitable business. Peeling those crumbs off the cake, as Sherman McCoy’s wife would say, gives Express Scripts, Profit Troll, profits that rise about double the rate of other industry companies.
But the crumbs are no longer good enough for Express Scripts: it wants the whole cake and will put your health at risk to get it, strong-arming companies into charging you more and making you go elsewhere to get your prescriptions.
Take the recent Walgreens and Express Scripts dispute.
Walgreen’s, which has been contracting with Express Scripts, offered to help keep costs down by keeping not increasing its rates, and by guaranteeing the lowest prices to military families who get their insurance through Tricare (an Express Scripts client.)
Express Scripts responded by saying “Screw people, forget the military, give us more money and more control.” It demanded the ability to define what’s a generic drug and what’s not, and demanded Walgreen’s accept below-industry prices.
Walgreen’s, of course, can’t make a deal that costs it money to get your prescriptions to you, and so Express Scripts no longer has a deal with Walgreen’s, which means that military families will pay more for their medications, and you will pay more or go to a different, farther away pharmacy. That puts you at risk because you can buy fewer medications, or you have to get them from a pharmacist who doesn’t know you.
All because Express Scripts, Profit Troll, wanted more money than it already had at your expense.
But you can do something about it (besides die, which is against Express Script’s wishes because if you die they don’t get all your money). You could join the Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens:
If you join in January, you’ll get a discounted membership of just $10 per family in ($5 for one person), getting the option of discounts on 8,000 different brand-name medications, low prices on generics, Walgreen’s discounts on flu shots, pet scripts, nebulizers and other things. Members also get bonuses for using other Walgreen’s services, like photofinishing, so you can continue to save on medications and still do one-stop shopping at your local pharmacy.
And you can show your support for the companies that are trying to do the right thing: Pick sides, like me: Stick up for Walgreen’s: Like Walgreens on Facebook and follow Walgreens on Twitter (@Walgreens), and help make things better.