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Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Alerts Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucus Reported Walgreens Prescription Drug Changes Will Hurt the Poor

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Congress of Racial Equality, a 70-year-old civil rights organization, sent a letter to the entire Black and Hispanic Congressional delegation alerting Congress of the dangers of Walgreens' widely publicized threat to end their partnership with Express Scripts at the end of the year.

Many working class Americans of color depend on the discounted prescription rates they are able to secure through the partnership.

National Spokesman Niger Innis warned the Congressmen that their constituents could face up to a 30% increase in the cost of vital medication should Walgreens no longer honor Express Scripts prescriptions. According to a story in AP, 1 out of 2 Americans are now living in or near poverty. This record number of Americans is largely due to the rise in the cost of living.

"At a time when record numbers of Americans find themselves barely scraping by to survive, the last thing Walgreens needs to do is end a partnership that helps millions of Americans of color," Innis said.


December 20, 2011

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), I am writing to express the concern we have with the probable end of the partnership between Walgreens and Express Scripts. Many working class Americans of color depend on the discounted prescription rates they are able to secure through Express Scripts.

Many within the business community and business media estimate vulnerable populations could face up to a 20% increase in prices for vital medication. In a weak economy that has hit the minority community particularly hard, that increase will harm the health of countless people and could essentially be a death sentence for many.

They also assert this decision of Walgreen's is going to hurt Walgreen's bottom line profits. CORE is troubled by the assertion of some that should the above stated presumptions (profit loss for Walgreen's and working class patients increased costs); the only motivation Walgreen's could have in making this decision is a desire to minimize or eliminate lower income customers.

Considering Walgreen's recent history and image, and the importance and difficulties with health care access that already exists in low-income communities, we strongly urge you to ask them to reconsider this decision.

In the past few years Walgreens has been sued by several states for allegedly eliminating or restricting access for Medicaid patients; this alleged practice may have led to the death of a child in Denver who was subject to inferior care due to a Medicaid coverage dispute.  Walgreens was also sued by the Bush administration's EEOC for alleged illegal discriminatory employment practices against 10,000 African American pharmaceutical (and other) employees.

This decision to terminate the partnership with Express Scripts, and the unintended consequences visited on vulnerable patients, would add to a disturbing narrative about the Walgreen's corporation. We seek your voice in strongly urging they reconsider this dangerous decision.


Niger Innis
National Spokesman


Mr. Innis can be reached at 1-702-633-4464



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