Walgreens withdraws half of its Wash. pharmacies from Medicaid

Reductions to pharmacy reimbursement rates in Washington has propelled Walgreens to withdraw about half of its pharmacies from the state's Medicaid program beginning next month. The pharmacies account for about three-fourth's of the company's total Medicaid business in the Evergreen State.  

Washington is one of the only states whose Medicaid program has not adjusted its pharmacy reimbursement rates after the industry pricing standard was lowered in a Massachusetts court ruling last fall. As a result, pharmacies in Washington receive much lower payments from the state. The state's Medicaid program reimburses Walgreens' pharmacies "below cost to break even on nearly 95 percent of brand name medications," said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy.

Crawford wants Washington to improve its medication management efforts. The company, in conjunction with pharmacies state-wide, said it has "identified tens of millions of dollars in savings" that could potentially offset the lowered pharmacy reimbursements.

Walgreens isn't the only company that's withdrawing some of its pharmacies from the state's Medicaid program. Last week, Seattle-based, family-owned Bartell Drugs said it would discontinue filling Medicaid prescriptions at 15 of its 57 stores, effective Feb. 1, the Wall Street Journal reported.

To learn more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article
- read this news release