Walmart Changes Mind, Decides to Stay in CVS Health Network

January 18, 2019, 4:35 PM UTC

Days after announcing it would leave CVS Health’s network in a dispute over costs, Walmart has settled its differences and will remain with the group.

The companies had failed to agree over pricing. Walmart threatened on Tuesday to leave the prescription drug network CVS oversees for both companies and the government, as well as Medicaid. The Bentonville, Ark., company said earlier this week it was committed to giving customers access to affordable health care, “but we don’t want to give that value to the middle man.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not announced.

The move to break from CVS was a bold one for Walmart, which likely would have seen millions of customers depart, as they tend to shop where their insurance is accepted.

“We are pleased to have reached fair and equitable terms with CVS Caremark that are in the best interest of our customers, and we are glad our CVS Caremark customers will be able to continue saving money and living better,” said Sean Slovenski, senior vice president of Walmart Health and Wellness in a statement. “We believe in putting our customers first by providing value and keeping our everyday low-price promise.”

The CVS Network has nearly 68,000 participating pharmacies, including those in Walmart and Sam’s Clubs. Walmart is a major pharmacy operator as well, and dispenses drugs in most of its almost 5,000 locations. The retailer also has flirted with getting more involved in the health care industry, looking at wellness services and other offerings to compete with CVS, especially since CVS’ takeover of health insurer Aetna last year.

CVS shares were up 2.5% in mid-morning trading as investors digested the news.

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