Automaker drops Walgreen drugstore chain as prescription provider

Friday, February 11th 2005, 8:30 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. is dropping Walgreen Co. from its network of prescription drug providers, saying it feared the drugstore giant would sever ties with the automaker over rules requiring some prescriptions to be filled by mail.

GM has informed its 1.1 million employees, retirees and their spouses and dependents in the United States that effective March 1, they won't be able to fill prescriptions at Walgreen's 4,200-plus stores.

The automaker's prescription provider, New Jersey-based Medco Health Services, said in a letter to GM-covered enrollees that they could have prescriptions filled at chains such as CVS or Rite Aid.

GM and Medco said they decided to cut ties with Walgreen out of concern it would stop doing business with GM, as it did last month with the state of Ohio. Walgreen, saying it disapproved of Ohio's mandatory mail-order program for some drugs, stopped accepting prescriptions from Ohio government employees on Jan. 1.

GM, Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG and suppliers Visteon Corp. and Delphi Corp., last year adopted a mandatory mail-order program for maintenance drugs. Such medication must be taken for a long period of time, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Walgreen spokesman Michael Polzin said the Deerfield, Ill.-based chain dislikes mandatory mail programs, but that it did not intend to cut ties with GM.

``I think it sounds like GM is getting bad information on this matter,'' he said. ``We hope we can continue filling prescriptions with GM.''