Cat Revising RX Drug Network

By WEEK Reporter
By Denise Jackson

November 18, 2011 Updated Nov 18, 2011 at 11:17 PM CDT

Peoria, IL -- Beginning in January Caterpillar will be expanding its prescription pharmacy network.
Despite the changes only a handful of local independent stores will benefit under the expansion.

Beginning in January of next year eligible Caterpillar employees and retirees will have more options when buying prescription drugs.  Big Yellow is expanding it's network to include Kroger stores and its affiliates, Doc's Drugs, Sartoris and Alwan Pharmacy in West Peoria.

"We were happy to be able to expand our network for 2012 while still maintaining the right balance between providing adequate access to our members and also leveraging these volume based discounts which ultimately will help us keep our costs affordable at Caterpillar," said Caterpillar Spokesperson Bridget Young.

Under Caterpillar's current plan employees and retirees can only go to Walmart or Walgreens.  Since that policy began in 2010 Caterpillar revised it to include 130 independent pharmacies around the country where access to larger pharmacies was limited.   Alwan Pharmacy owner Mike Minesinger was among those business owners who approached Caterpillar about resuming business with independents.

"We're happy there an opportunity that independents are gonna be included and that Cat sees the value of independent pharmacies," he said.

Pekin Prescription lab owner John Neumann was also among those voicing concern about the loss of business for independents.
He says under the revised changes Caterpillar employees and retirees have more choices.

"Let the consumer make the choice whether the consumer is the end patient or in this case the consumer being the pharmacy to choose whether or not they can participate in the program as presented by Caterpillar," Neumann said.

Young says Caterpillar continues to evaluate the policy and adds there could be more changes in the future.   I