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Independent pharmacies feel pushed out of updated Tricare contract

Tricare, the health care program for the U.S. military, in December dropped retail pharmacies at Walmart and its affiliate Sam’s Club across the United States and replaced them with CVS Pharmacy Inc.

It also dropped many small, independent pharmacies in the Cardinal Health network, a decision that shortchanges many of the plan’s beneficiaries – active-duty service members, retirees and their families – and those pharmacies, too, said a spokeswoman for independent pharmacies.

“There is no negotiating, these are take-it-or-leave-it contracts provided from Express Scripts Inc. to a pharmacy,” Karry La Violette, senior vice president for the National Community Pharmacists Association, told Stars and Stripes by phone Wednesday. “So, if you want to be in the network you take this horrible reimbursement rate or you don’t.”

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