Source: Marketwatch

Kroger: Kroger Intends to Terminate Pharmacy Provider Agreement with Express Scripts -- Update

By Denny Jacob Kroger Co. said its healthcare division notified Express Scripts Inc. on Thursday that it intends to terminate their pharmacy provider agreement for commercial customers. The grocery store operator said since February it has attempted on dozens of occasions to negotiate with Express Scripts for a contract that lowers costs and increases access but that little to no progress has been made to date. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company said most Express Scripts' commercial customers around the country will no longer be able to fill prescriptions at pharmacies within Kroger's umbrella if a new agreement isn't reached by the end of the year. Kroger noted that more than 90% of Kroger Health customers will be unaffected by the termination. "Kroger remains willing to negotiate any contract with Express Scripts that results in a fair, transparent agreement at a rate that benefits everyone -- particularly our customers -- and prevents any disruption of services," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. Kroger said Express Scripts' current proposal is out of line with comparable terms the company has with all other pharmacy providers and is outside the industry standard. "At a time when we should all be working to reduce health care costs in the face of rising inflation, it is troubling that Kroger is pressing for a contract that would pass higher costs on to our clients and patients," an Express Scripts spokesperson said. The spokesperson said that less than 1.5% of its customers currently fill their prescriptions at Kroger and that the company will support affected customers. Write to Denny Jacob at [email protected]

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