Veterans may choose to fill their VA prescriptions at a retail pharmacy (e.g., Wal-Mart) as a lower cost alternative to VA copayments. A change to Wal-Mart’s pharmacy system is preventing Veteran’s prescriptions, written by VA Providers who are not licensed in the state they are prescribing, from being filled at all Wal-Mart locations nationally. This change also impacts Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Markets pharmacies.
Background: As part of an injunctive relief, Wal-Mart has implemented an automated verification system (called VerifyRX) to verify that a prescriber has an active license in the state in which the prescription was written. If the prescriber is not licensed in the state where the prescription was written, Wal-Mart’s pharmacy system prevents the prescription from being filled unless a manual override process is followed. This verification process applies to all prescriptions including urgently needed medications and existing refills the Veteran may have on file. Wal-Mart is fully aware of the negative impacts this is having to federally exempt providers (e.g., VA, DoD, IHS).
Wal-Mart Actions: Wal-Mart has established a mitigation plan that requires the local Wal-Mart pharmacist to call the Wal-Mart Health and Wellness Contact Center to get authorization to fill the prescription. Multiple reports have been received indicating Wal-Mart pharmacy staff are not following their established mitigation process and are telling Veterans that they cannot fill prescriptions from the VA causing significant Veteran and VA Provider abrasion and delays in care.
VA Provider Actions (Recommended):
- Disseminate this information to all VA Providers who may need to send prescriptions to a retail pharmacy for Veterans.
- If you are a VA Provider and licensed in the state you are writing prescription then there is no impact. Wal-Mart pharmacies can still be an option for the Veteran.
- If you are a VA Provider and not licensed in the state you are writing prescriptions.
- Advise the Veteran that Wal-Mart may not be able to fill their prescriptions and to consider another retail pharmacy.
- Offer to have VA Pharmacy fill eligible prescriptions and that VA copays would apply.
- Questions can be referred to VACOCCNPharmacyTeam@va.gov