NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Urban League (NUL) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) today urged Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI) to resume negotiations and come to an agreement with Walgreens on new contract terms. If an agreement is not reached, millions of Americans, especially in diverse and underserved communities, stand to lose access to pharmacy services on January 1, 2012.
In an open letter to Express Scripts, Marc H. Morial, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League and Margaret Moran, National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens state that "Walgreens has been a valued partner with the National Urban League and LULAC for many years. Together we have worked to address the health issues, improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in our communities across the country."
While this is a dispute between companies, open and fair input from communities across the country is critical, as the outcome drastically affects the healthcare options of millions of Americans. NUL and LULAC have a vested interest in ensuring that all people have access to affordable and convenient neighborhood pharmacies. Families and communities across the country deserve a quick resolution that preserves access to care and medicines in their own neighborhoods.
"As the nation's largest pharmacy chain, with nearly 8,000 stores nationwide, Walgreens serves 40 million consumers every week. Walgreens fills an important role in our neighborhoods. In many areas Walgreens is the only pharmacy that can fill health care needs and prescriptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is of great significance to communities that we serve."
For more than 100 years, Walgreens has been committed to serving urban neighborhoods and continues to serve communities throughout the United States where quality health care services are scarce.
As noted in the letter, with stores in virtually every community, 63 percent of all Americans, 75 percent of African Americans, and 78 percent of Latinos live within 3 miles of a Walgreens, and Walgreens fills one out of every three prescriptions in the country.
In the letter, the leaders of the NUL and LULAC emphasize the need to discuss the dispute, stating, "It is with great concern that we contact Express Scripts regarding Express Scripts' unwillingness to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with Walgreens in your recent contract negotiations. We strongly urge you to put Walgreens' customers, your customers and the health of our communities at the forefront of this issue."
For the past year, Walgreens has been working to negotiate a three-year contract renewal agreement with Express Scripts Inc. to remain in the network and serve patients whose health plans contract with ESI. To date, Express Scripts has rejected their efforts. ESI is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company that administers pharmacy services for health insurance plans and programs such as the U.S. military's health care plan (TRICARE), certain Medicare Part D plans and numerous employer-provided plans. An agreement is necessary to protect access to pharmacy services for hundreds of millions of Americans.
About the National Urban League (NUL):
National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910, the National Urban League – headquartered in New York - and the National Urban League Policy Institute – headquartered in Washington D.C., spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, nearly 100 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia provide direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.
About the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC):
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 900 LULAC councils nationwide.
|SOURCE League of United Latin American Citizens; National Urban League|
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