Express Scripts, Zocor, and taking it in the butt.

Express Scripts gets the gold medal for screwing over pharmacists across the country (shocking! I know!).
If you’re filling Zocor (trade or generic) for an Express Scripts patient, take a look at your reimbursement rates. I have a dollar that says its about 33% below your cost. If you didnt notice the big flashy red signs that say “YO DUMBASS! THEY ARE REIMBURSING BELOW OUR COST!” then you need to take more pride in your work and stop working for Walgreens.
Well, here at the store of The Angry Pharmacist decided to confront Express Scripts on this issue.
The first call resulted in some talking head saying “We have done extensive market research to show that the reimbursement rates are correct”. This is completely beside the point that Generic Zocor is only made by a company called Dr Reddy, which is in part owned by Merck Medco (surprise surprise) so its a single source generic. This is also beside the point that they are reimbursing 33% below cost on both the Trade and the Generic product. I can see a company getting kickbacks from Merck so they wouldnt cover the Generic, but below cost on the Trade name?
The second call resulted in some very interesting information. The person on the other end said that “Since our reimbursement rates are so high on our other products, we feel that you (pharmacists) can take the financial loss on Generic/Trade Zocor”. They also admited that they have recieved calls from all over the country complaining about this issue!
Is this an attempt by Express Scripts to move people to their shitty Mail Order Pharmacy where they get substandard service (and expect me to bail their asses out when they fuck up the mailings)? Hard for me to feel sorry for them when their stock is through the roof this year.
If you must know, we’re switching everyone over to Crestor. There arent any real good generic statins out that are “covered”, and contrary to what Express Scripts thinks we actually do care about our patients. Plus Crestor is the most expensive one out there, and despite the kickbacks that Express Scripts is getting I think this will do more damage to them than just eating the loss of Trade/Generic Zocor. Or maybe this is a plot by Merck to force people to move to Vytorin.
Regardless, fuck Express Scripts. I’d be happy to take back this bitch if some talking head from Express Scripts can provide some documentation as to where they are getting Trade/Generic Zocor at 33% cheaper than what I am getting at it. They can email me and i’ll send them my fax number.
So look at your Zocor scripts and let me know if Express Scripts is bending you over as well. You can comment here and ill add you to a list. Or better yet, comment here and then call Express Scripts (800)235-4357 and tell me what the talking head tells you.

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17 Comments

  1. Aline says:

    Ha! Walgreens health solutions was robbed of that medal! not only is their simvastatin below cost (by 23.46) for 30 pills- But if you fill any 90 day supply through them chances are theyre paying you below cost as well-
    We should start a yearly award for shittiest processors… I bet WHI would win by a landslide

  2. drugnazi says:

    Good job with the Express Scripts investigative journalism. I am all about sticking it to the man.
    I might be a little weary of switching people to Crestor however, as it’s side effect profile is out of whack compared to the other statins. I wonder if Pravachol might not be a win-win for both you and your customers. It’s generally regarded as the safest statin, more effective than Mevacor, and unless the PBM’s are playing similar games with it, the fact that it’s available in a generic should give you a better profit margin when you dispense it. Just a thought.

  3. Laughing Pharmcist says:

    Yes I can agree with the majority of your comments. But I think its quite sad when those pharmacies are turning away the patient. You can stick your finger at Express Scripts until you are blue in the face. I work for a pharmacy that did continue dispensing the medication. Those patients will return again. And as far as this being a single source generic? I’m laughing my ass off right now at you.

  4. Dumbfounded in Indiana says:

    The Angry Pharmacist is totally correct. How can you guys just let them do this to us? Every single pharmacist in the country should be complaining about this on a daily basis. You need to be registering a complaint with ESI and your wholesaler every day. They are screwing us royally. At this rate why not price all drugs far below cost. What’s going to stop them? Well the answer is us. We have to stand up for fair and decent business practices. This ploy to save someone money is not fair or decent. I demand law suits and acts of congress, nothing less. People should be hung for trying to get away with this. You CVS pharmacists, who don’t even have access to what the drugs cost, and everyone else-start complaining and stop filling simvastatin or Zocor.

    • donna turcotte says:

      You are dead wrong. Usually people like you are dumb and don’t know the truth, 99% of screw ups are because of stupid people like you. Do you think you have no responsible with your on medication? Do you not care, if it sucks don’t use it. What company does the pharmacist work for? Perhaps Wal-Greens? Is our Doctor’s God. You take there word for everything. I worked in a Dr. office, we lied about that all the time. Why not put the blame on Express Scripts, that’s the easy way out. Millions of people use them, including me and 95% are happy with them. They are smart, they manage their medication and not leave everything to Express Script. Let me guess you are one of the people who want them to call your doctor because your to lazy to do it yourself. I lived in Indiana and guess what, they only know how to be a racist. Before you speak, do your research of the company. To the Pharmist who doesn’t like to do his job, You just showed what a dick you were. I bet you are one of them that tell the patient Express Scripts won’t pay for their medication when actually it is their insurance that won’t cover it, didn’t they research the information before signing on with them?, and I bet you don’t tell them your too lazy to pick up the phone and call to get the PA. Does your people know that? No, you put the blame on Express Scripts, if you did your job maybe it would help the patients get their medication on time. Jerk

      • J says:

        “Donna Turcotte”, are you speaking of Express Scripts from a customer/patient standpoint, or as a Pharmacist? I happen to be a customer/patient of theirs, and they are nothing but a massive cabal of rip-off artists and schemers. You state that “95% are happy with them”, yet even multiple local Pharmacists I know have had nothing but grief and heartache when trying to deal with these ignorant loons. I have always enjoyed dealing with my local Pharmacists, as I can walk right up the street from where I live, and immediately procure my prescriptions. However, all of the preventative and long-term medications now come from Express Scripts, and they are definitely on my black list for now (I have NEVER had as much trouble with any prescription suppliers, EVER). I wouldn’t even be using ES right now if it weren’t for the limitation of the current plan which I happen to be on. CuraScript on the other hand, is a completely different story (They are absolutely amazing, and truly helpful).

  5. LC says:

    I just finished a community pharmacy rotation in a grocery store where we encountered this problem as well with several insurances. brand is cheaper than generic for Zocor is it not? I’m also bemused by the Zoloft generic debacle. the distributors have the product in hand but it’s been held back by legalities yet again.

  6. xenon says:

    Yes, I have one of those scripts for generic zocor.
    I turned the patient away and explained to her that the insurance will not pay. They took it to CVS. Let CVS take a loss on it!!!

  7. cassidy says:

    Medco does not own Dr. Reddy.

  8. Jane says:

    I found your entry very interesting. I have recently had my own issue with Express Scripts as a patient, which may be of interest. My account of it is here.

  9. Unknown says:

    As an employee of Express Scripts, I just thought I would drop you a line and let you know to fuck off. You pharmacies bitch like shit about this but when there’s drugs out there your being reimbursed SUBSTANTIALLY over cost do you call us and complain? I didn’t think so, not as if any of you fuckers are taking a loss on a day to day basis.

    • James Greene says:

      You need to be fired. With a mouth like that you need to work in a bar. I used to feel sorry for people like you. The word USED to!

  10. BigBoxPharmacy says:

    K-mart is selling 90 day supplies of generic Zocor (any strength!) for only $15. No membership required. I was working the other day at my pharmacy (another corporate retail pharmacy) and saw some poor sucker pay $197 for his 90 day supply. Even Wal-mart is much more expensive than K-mart on this particular drug.
    Any clue on why K-mart is selling this so cheap?!? Also the same goes for 90 day supplies of generic Zoloft (any strength!) and I know a 30 day supply at my pharmacy is $34.99.
    lol, I don’t mean to sound like a K-mart spokesperson but I was shocked the other day when calling them for a price match on this.

  11. ExpressSucks says:

    Just dropped Express Sucks.

    Luckily I have the option to go local, although at double the cost.

    They received a one month prescription from my wife’s doctor (instead of 3 months), and instead of contacting me, my wife, or the doctor, sent my wife one month of pills. Problem is I get to pay the $50 copay no matter what size the order. When I called to discuss the problem, I was given no way to remedy the situation. They didn’t offer to send more. They didn’t admit that even the worst local Pharmacy would have not screwed me like that. I just had to live with the results. It was, after all, my doctors fault for not writing the prescription right. Right?

    I was talked downed to by call center specialists and Pharmacy, who repeatedly explained that it was clear in their contract with my insurance company that this it how they should be doing business. Fine. Since I am completely caught up on the agreement between Express Sucks and my insurance company, I can see why I should have known this would happen. I should give the call center folks a break, since this kind of discussion requires they stop reading their scripts and think for a moment. Instead, I asked to talk to the supervisor. This guy was not only fake, but even more ridiculous that the first call center lackey. I understand why he was promoted. The Pharmacy has no excuse.

    If the call center was in India, they would probably understand the problem, since they haven’t detached their brains from their mouths. So yes, I give the call center a break: There is a reason why they work in a call center.

    I disputed the charge with Visa, since, in fact, I requested a 3 month prescription from Express Sucks and only received 1 month of product. Visa agreed to run the dispute through their arbitration process, which Express Sucks did not dispute.

    So it was over, right? No.

    When I went to renew my own prescriptions, I was told there was a charge on my account. When I told them what happened, they threatened me with sending my bill to collections if I didn’t pay it. I went ahead and paid the bill, closed all my accounts, and complained to my insurance company. Even my insurance company thought the situation was strange. I reminded them that they should know this is how Express Sucks does business. It is, after all, how their contract stipulates the process is done. Sure.

    Now that I know what Express Sucks really is, I would strongly suggest you use your local pharmacy if you can, and pay the extra to honest folks, instead of getting involved with crooks. Don’t turn your back on these folks, they will knife you!

    I’m glad I had a reason to contact them again. If I hadn’t, I would have had Guido calling me, threatening to break my legs if I didn’t pay him $300 for the $50 disputed charge.

  12. James Greene says:

    Express Scripts are a joke!!! It took me five weeks to get nose spray. Really. Now they want me to take a generic drug for a new anti-depressent the generic never worked before. The new drug does NOT have a generic. What is wrong with this company???? They think they have more power than a doctor!!! Congress needs to give them a boot where the sun doesn’t shine. By the way , unknown a real class act. Your the problem with this company and many more crs are just like you. All I can say their JOKE.

    • Rukidding says:

      Dear Mr. Greene, it is obvious that you have never read your summary plan description or called and asked about it. Let me enlighten you IT IS YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY THAT BIDS ON WHAT IT WANTS TO PAY FOR, WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY DEMANDS THAT YOUR MEDICATION IS CHANGED O A GENERIC OR A LOWER COST ALTERNATIVE. IF YOU WANT TO YELL AT SOMEONE THEN YELL AT YOUR EMPLOYER WHO PICKS YOUR INSURANCE AND DECIDES HOW MUCH THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR THIER PART OF THE DRUGS EXPRESS SCRIPTS IS A PHARMACY JUST LIKE YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY. IT IS NO DIFFERENT THAN YOU HAVING TO USE A CONTRACTOR THAT OVER CHARGES YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE FORCED TO.

  13. John Hoch says:

    OK – here we go, into the fray (SP?). My daughter works for Express RIP-OFFS because it’s a paycheck. They employ folks at the cheapest labor rate they can force people into, forece overtime and DO NOT PAY overtime. She ends up with near about standard pay for every hour OT worked. They are WAY understaffed (my words, not my daughters). If there are medication screw-ups, I can believe it. Thies folks are just about worn down from being overworked.
    Now – from my perspective. Our company just switched us over from Merck-Medco to Express RIP-OFFS, I think the dirt bags bougt out Medco. I just ordered a needed medication for my wife and it multipilied SIX times from the cost of a Medoc prescription, from $8 to $50. I complained and they said it had nothing to do with ObamaCare – it was just “costs going up” We need to revolt and put this piece of c_ _ p company out of business. They are the lowest of the low pond scum suckers. Intersetinf side note – the confirmation phraae listed below my post that awaits my input is “Hay Corrupt” – NO KIDDING! Even the random confirmation generator knows Express RIP-OFFS SUCKS!

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