Walmart drops CVS pharmacy coverage in price dispute

Walmart reported Tuesday that it will no longer honor prescription drug coverage from CVS Health, leaving large numbers of Walmart customers searching for a new pharmacist. The move affects Walmart customers with CVS Caremark pharmacy coverage through employer-sponsored insurance and state Medicaid managed-care plans.

Walmart reported Tuesday that it will no longer honor prescription drug coverage from CVS Health, leaving large numbers of Walmart customers searching for a new pharmacist. The move affects Walmart customers with CVS Caremark pharmacy coverage through employer-sponsored insurance and state Medicaid managed-care plans. It does not affect Medicare beneficiaries. It also does not affect pharmacies at Sam's Club stores. CVS recently refused Walmart's demand for larger reimbursements for the prescription drugs it dispenses. Rival pharmacies, especially small independent pharmacies that are getting squeezed, suspect that CVS Caremark plays favorites with affiliated CVS pharmacies. Walmart on Tuesday essentially accused CVS Health of using its clout to bully customers. "This issue underscores the problems that can arise when a PBM can exert their unregulated power to direct members on where to fill their scripts, disrupting patients’ health care," Walmart said in a statement. "Walmart is standing up to CVS’s behaviors that are putting pressure on pharmacies and disrupting patient care." CVS said Walmart’s demand for bigger reimbursements would result in increased costs. "At a time when everyone is working hard to find ways to reduce health care costs, Walmart’s requested rates would ultimately result in higher costs for our clients and consumers," CVS said in a statement. "The decision to leave the CVS Caremark commercial and Managed Medicaid community pharmacy networks was Walmart's, and Walmart’s alone."