The Walgreens drug store chain, with more than 4,200 stores nationwide, took a major financial hit this week when auto-maker General Motors Corp announced that it is dropping Walgreens from its network of prescription drug providers. GM took the action to prevent Walgreens from dropping GM first, over the contentious issue of mail order drugs. GM has a policy that requires the use of mail order purchases for drugs that must be taken on a chronic basis. GM represents 1.1 million workers and retirees, and as of March 1st, they will no longer use Walgreens. GM indicated it took the action because last month Walgreens stopped doing business with the state of Ohio over the issue of mandatory mail order services. On January 1st, Walgreens stopped accepting prescriptions from Ohio government employees. All the big car manufacturers, including GM, Ford and Daimler Chrysler have mandatory mail order plans for long-term drugs, like cholesterol-lowering medications. The move is intended to cut the health care costs of the automakers. Walgreens admitted to the Associated Press that it does not like mandatory mail order plans, but denied that it planned to drop GM. Walgreens said GM had “bad information” about Walgreens, but their actions in dumping Ohio may have spoken louder than the drugstore chain’s words.
Many citizens groups that have fought Walgreens are no doubt delighted to hear that the retailer has lost a major source of revenue. Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid all have a bad reputation at the grassroots, small town level. All have pursued an in-your-face development style that ignores neighborhood views, and inappropriately places stores where none are needed, or wanted. Search this database by the drugstore chain’s name for earlier stories.