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Walgreens, Express Scripts drop litigation

Drug benefits manager claimed retailer tried to lure away customers

Just because their legal skirmish is over doesn’t mean they’re friends.

On Friday, Walgreen Co. announced that it and Express Scripts Holding Co. had dropped claims they had filed against each other related to a lawsuit stemming from a contract dispute.

In September 2011, drug benefits manager Express Scripts sued Walgreens, claiming the country’s largest drugstore retailer violated an agreement and published false marketing materials meant to persuade Medicare recipients to leave Express Scripts clients’ health plans near the expiration date of the companies’ contract with each other. Walgreens contended that it was important to inform its customers about how they would be affected if it left the Express Scripts network.

Walgreens left the Express Scripts network in January after the two parties failed to reach a contract-renewal agreement. According to CBS, Express Scripts ended the contract because Walgreens wanted a premium compared to what Express Scripts paid other competing pharmacies.

Since ending the relationship, Walgreens has lost customers, as Express Scripts customers have had to find other pharmacies to get the best prescription prices.

Although both sides have dropped their claims, “these dismissals have no impact on the parties’ ability or inability to come to terms on a pharmacy agreement,” Walgreens said in a statement.

Express Scripts also is facing litigation following its $29 billion merger with Medco Health Solutions Inc. in July 2011. Nine independent pharmacies and two trade groups sued the benefits manager in March, claiming the merger threatens local pharmacies. 

Ashley Post

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