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Page 26
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Walgreens Tells Vets to Shop Elsewhere

By Michael Cascanet

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Walgreen Co., the largest drugstore chain in the US, published a press release last month announcing that as of the end of December 2011, they would no longer accept or fill Tricare prescriptions for drug purchases. Tricare is the medical insurance program that covers US military veterans. Walgreens claims that Tricare prescription payments are lower than industry standards and therefore not as profitable as other programs that it subscribes to.

Our free market system gives Walgreens the right to do business as they see fit. It also gives me the option of voting with my feet and my wallet. As a disabled veteran who pays Tricare premiums out of my retirement I have decided to boycott Walgreens as well as any other merchant who refuses to support this country's veterans.

I urge all veterans to avoid Walgreens in the future. I won't buy a single battery or a pack of Q-Tips from a corporation that refuses to provide prescriptions to America's veterans.

This past Veterans Day Walgreens pretended to honor vets with percentage-off sales on selected items. How stupid do they think we are?

In the past 3 months Walgreens has spent $700,000 on lobbying the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services to increase prescription payments from Tricare and other government sponsored insurance policies. They grossed $6.13 billion in October with a 4.6% increase in pharmacy sales operating 7,786 stores. So what if I don't buy batteries from them anymore? I admit that I am just one small voice. My opposition to them is as futile as spitting into the wind. But what if every veteran in all 50 states decided to boycott them? Would that send a message?

The moral of the story is: sometimes you get what you ask for... Shop elsewhere you say? You don't need us? You, the American veteran, are not important enough, not profitable enough for us? You got it, Walgreens. I'll never patronize any of your 7,786 stores again.

Michael Cascanet is a member of VVAW and a CPT, CA, USAR (Ret.).

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