BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, Smith’s stores in Los Alamos and White Rock will no longer be part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield pharmacy network for many folks in the community. Members of the plan have been advised that they will have to pay a higher cost if they continue to use the two pharmacies. Express Scripts suggests using Nambe Drugs in Los Alamos or Walgreens in Espanola.
As the end of the year draws close, the Los Alamos Reporter reached out to Triad, LLC about the issue and received the following response:
“The Laboratory is aware of the issue between Kroger and Express Scripts, which is a national concern and affects communities all across the country. The Laboratory became aware of the situation in October 2022, and has expressed our concerns to Express Scripts, which is actively looking options for the White Rock/Los Alamos area once Kroger is no longer an in-network pharmacy. Long-term maintenance medications can be acquired through our mail order provider, ESI, and we are working with Express Scripts to determine other options for filling prescriptions locally.”
The Reporter asked Justine Sessions with Express Scripts for a statement and the following is what was received:
“At a time when we should all be working to reduce health care costs in the face of rising inflation, it is troubling that Kroger is pressing for a contract that would pass higher costs on to our clients and patients. We would welcome Kroger back into the network if they decide they want to do what is in the best interest of their customers. In the meantime, we are proactively taking action to support any impacted Express Scripts customers in smoothly transitioning to another pharmacy. In Los Alamos, we are successfully working with other retail pharmacies in the area to expand their capacity and offer delivery options. Additionally, our customers have the convenient option of home delivery to receive 3-month supplies of their maintenance medications.”
If the changes go into effect Jan. 1, 2023. they will affect some 2020 Kroger pharmacies nationwide. This remains a developing story. More information will be presented as soon as it becomes available. No response has yet been received from Nambe Drugs on the situation.