Walgreens & CVS potential pharmacist strike: overview and actions

October 30, 2023

Impacted: Relevant to all lines of business and client types (Commercial, Medicare, Medicaid)


Earlier this month, Prime/Magellan Rx informed you of the scheduled pharmacist walk outs at Walgreens Pharmacy. You may have seen news coverage that both Walgreens and CVS pharmacists may execute another walk out and protest later this month, due to what organizers state are challenging working conditions. While the walkouts earlier this month were limited to a small number of stores with minimal impact, organizers are hoping to have a larger turnout later this month between Oct. 30-Nov. 3, spanning nationwide.

Prime/Magellan Rx is committed to supporting members and ensuring they receive their medications in a timely manner. Below is an overview of what we have learned from Walgreens and CVS along with actions being taken by Prime/MRx to fulfill this commitment.

We will continue to keep you updated on this page with any disruption and member impacts as we learn more.

If you have questions, please reach out to your Prime/Magellan Rx client account team representative.


UPDATE (Oct. 30)

Below is a recent update on Prime/Magellan Rx’s actions for Legacy Prime and Legacy Magellan Rx members.

Prime/Magellan Rx Actions for Legacy Prime Members (updated Oct. 30)

  • We will make a refill too soon dynamic prior authorization available for pharmacy utilization if there is significant impact.
  • We will have messaging on the My Prime home page to direct members to contact Walgreens and CVS direction, as well as IVR messaging to direct members to My Prime.

Prime/Magellan Rx Actions for Legacy Magellan Rx Members (updated Oct. 30)

  • We will make a refill too soon prior authorization available to our call center team members to enter as applicable if a member/pharmacy calls.


UPDATE (Oct. 24)

What we’ve learned from Walgreens

Based on recent correspondence from Walgreens representatives we have learned the following actions will commence if there are store closures:

  • Walgreens will update their mobile app and website (www.walgreens.com) with closed pharmacy status. Should a pharmacy be closed, Walgreens will direct customers to alternative Walgreens locations.
  • Walgreens will contact impacted patients to direct them to alternative pharmacies if they are due for a refill and/or have filled a script at an impacted location.
  • Walgreens will closely monitor the situation and has plans to manage operations when needed.
  • They are committed to the health and safety of patients and aim to ensure minimal disruption.
  • For urgent prescription requirements, patients can be directed to the nearest alternate pharmacy for assistance, or they can call 1-800-Walgreens for assistance.

What we’ve learned from CVS

CVS has provided the information below about actions it will take in the event of store closures or pharmacist walkouts:

  • In the event of an unexpected closure, signage will be placed at the pharmacy/drive-thru to notify patients and refer them to a nearby CVS location.
  • CVS is continuing to update their website (cvs.com) and the CVS Pharmacy app in the event a patient requires assistance in locating a nearby CVS Pharmacy.
  • CVS is committed to meeting their patients’ prescription, vaccination, and other pharmacy care needs and are working with their pharmacists to directly address any concerns they may have.
  • For further assistance in finding a nearby open location, customers can call 1-800-SHOP-CVS to speak with a CVS representative.

Prime/Magellan Rx Actions

  • We will continue to engage with Walgreens and CVS for updates to ensure members get their medications in a timely manner.
  • We have engaged our member communications team to ensure they are aware and have provided them with information in the event they receive any calls.
  • Prime/Magellan Rx is exploring digital options to support member inquiries.
  • If we have confirmed closures with significant member impact, we will work to support any potential refill too soon overrides and/or out of network rejections in an area that utilizes a Walgreens or CVS exclusive network when Walgreens or CVS is unable to service a member in a timely fashion.