Reverend Al Sharpton
Reverend Al Sharpton

Sharpton Says Walgreens Slashes Services to Poor

Reverend Al Sharpton

Reverend Al Sharpton, President and Founder of National Action Network, this week condemned recent actions by Walgreens, noting the retailer’s decision to end its relationship with Express Scripts will result in increased prescription costs for “the elderly, union members, Medicaid patients, the working poor and families of color.”
In a letter to Walgreens CEO Gregory Wasson, Sharpton writes, “A failure to resolve any issues with Express Scripts, a low-cost prescription program, will have a significant and detrimental impact on New York City residents locally” because Walgreens is preparing a merger with Duane Reade Drugstores. Both Walgreens and Duane Reade have a significant New York presence.
In releasing the letter, Sharpton said that Walgreens has “a troubling history with regard to underserved minority community,” noting that over the last five years, Walgreens has been subject to legal actions in a variety of states regarding efforts to abandon or restrict Medicaid program patients from coming to their stores (CA, DE, NY and WA have brought suit against Walgreens for these actions); that the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission brought one of the largest and most flagrant racial discrimination cases against Walgreens for its unequal, unfair, illegal employment practices against 10,000 African American retail management and pharmacy employees; and that Medicaid patients have been subject to unequal treatment and care at Walgreens (in July 2009, a child in Denver died after Walgreens refused to fill a prescriptions over a Medicaid coverage dispute).
“National Action Network urges Walgreens … to reconsider (its) current path and the signal that sends to our underserved, low-income communities that they are essentially second-class citizens and undesired as Walgreens customers. It is of paramount importance that you settle your problem with Express Scripts, and keep our prescription costs down.”
National Action Network is a national civil rights organization, with chapters throughout the U.S. founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people.