KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Walgreen, Express Scripts Reach Deal To Renew Relationship

Walgreen and Express Scripts will again do business together, allowing hundreds of thousands of Express Scripts customers to get prescriptions from Walgreens, starting again in September. In other news, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay as much as $2.2 billion to resolve a marketing investigation.

The New York Times: Walgreen And Express Scripts Reach Deal
Walgreen, the nation's largest drugstore chain, agreed on Thursday to renew its relationship with the prescription benefit manager Express Scripts, opening the door for hundreds of thousands of customers to return in September for discounts and related benefits from their Express Scripts drug cards (Japsen, 7/19).

Reuters: Express Scripts, Walgreen Settle Pharmacy Spat
Walgreen Co will soon be able to fill prescriptions for Express Scripts Holding Co patients after the two corporate giants settled their long-running dispute, removing a concern that has weighed on the drugstore chain's shares for a year. Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, will be part of the broadest network of drugstores available to clients of pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, as of September 15, the companies said on Thursday (Krauskopf and Wohl, 7/19).

Bloomberg: Walgreen Gains After Renewing Pact With Express Scripts
Walgreen Co. (WAG), the largest U.S. drugstore chain, surged the most since 2008 after renewing a contract to provide Express Scripts Inc. customers with prescriptions, ending a dispute that contributed to an 11 percent decline in the retailer's quarterly profit…. Walgreen will become part of the network of pharmacies available to Express Scripts clients as of Sept. 15, the companies said today in a statement. Terms weren't disclosed. The agreement ends a standoff that centered on reimbursement rates and caused Walgreen to lose customers to CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and other drugstore rivals (Burritt, 7/19).

The Associated Press: Walgreen, Express Scripts Sign New Agreement
The Walgreen pharmacy chain will begin filling prescriptions from customers in the Express Scripts network again starting in September under a new multiyear contract that ends a costly impasse between the companies. The agreement announced Thursday follows a series of disputes between Walgreen and Express Scripts that ended with the discontinuation of the contract between the drugstore operator and the pharmacy benefit manager last year (Seaman, 7/19).

In other news, a Johnson & Johnson penalty over its marketing practices could total $2.2 billion --

The Wall Street Journal: J&J Penalty May Total $2.2 Billion
Johnson & Johnson and federal prosecutors have reached a deal that would settle investigations into the company's marketing practices for as much as $2.2 billion, including a roughly $400 million criminal fine for the illegal promotion of the antipsychotic Risperdal, according to people familiar with the matter (Rockoff and Lublin, 7/19).

The Associated Press: Report: J&J Will Pay $2.2B In Risperdal Settlement
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay as much as $2.2 billion to resolve an investigation into its marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, according to a published report. The Wall Street Journal, which reported the settlement Thursday, said the settlement will include a $400 million criminal fine and that the final amount will depend on how many states accept the settlement (7/19).

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