Walgreen extends agreement with CVS Caremark over pharmacy benefit management

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. has extended its agreement to fill prescriptions for CVS Caremark Corp., which runs one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management businesses.

The deal means customers with prescription drug benefits managed by CVS Caremark can still have their prescriptions filled at stores operated by Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen, the nation’s largest drugstore chain.

CVS Caremark also runs the nation’s second largest drugstore chain, in addition to its pharmacy benefits management, or PBM, business.

Walgreen released a brief statement on Monday announcing the multi-year agreement but declined to offer details on it.

PBMs run prescription drug plans for employers, insurers and other customers. They process mail-order prescriptions and handle bills for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies.

Last year, Walgreen took a revenue hit when it went nearly nine months without a new agreement to do business with Express Scripts Holding Co., the nation’s largest PBM.

The companies had stopped doing business at the start of 2012, and the lapse meant that some Walgreen customers migrated to competing stores to fill their prescriptions before the companies reached a new deal that started last September.

CVS drugstores gained some business from that split.

Shares of Walgreen climbed 52 cents to $49.24 in morning trading Monday. Shares of Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Caremark rose 24 cents to $58.27, and St. Louis-based Express Scripts was up 40 cents to $61.80.