CVS Health, the drugstore chain operator, announced Tuesday (Jan. 15) that Walmart has chosen to leave the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management (PBM) commercial and Managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks.
In a press release announcing the development, CVS said it has requested that Walmart continue to fill prescriptions as an in-network participating pharmacy through April 30, 2019, to enable patients to transition without any impact to their care. CVS said the transition does not impact Walmart’s participation in the CVS Caremark Medicare Part D pharmacy network.
In addition, Walmart’s Sam’s Club division remains in the CVS Caremark pharmacy networks, the drug store operator said in the press release. Also, Walmart’s termination from the CVS Caremark commercial and Managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks is not expected to have a material impact on the financial results for this year.
“At a time when everyone is working hard to find ways to reduce healthcare costs, Walmart’s requested rates would ultimately result in higher costs for our clients and consumers,” said Derica Rice, president of CVS Caremark, the pharmacy benefit management business of CVS Health. “While we have enjoyed a long relationship with Walmart as a low-cost provider in our broad national networks, based on our commitment to helping our clients and consumers manage rising pharmacy costs, we simply could not agree to their recent demands for an increase in reimbursement.”
According to CVS Caremark, as it stands, under 5 percent of affected members use Walmart exclusively to fill prescriptions. CVS said the retail pharmacy network is “well-positioned” even without Walmart to provide members with access to a local pharmacy. CVS Caremark said the main focus now is ensuring an orderly transition for plan members.
“As CVS Caremark begins to prepare clients and members for a transition, we are hopeful that Walmart will agree to work amicably with us in the best interest of patients,” said Rice. “CVS Caremark’s priority is to ensure that patients continue to have access to their medications during this transition period. We also remain open to continuing timely good faith negotiations with Walmart in the hopes of reaching an agreement to provide quality pharmacy care at a reasonable cost.”