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Grocery store chain Kroger Co.

said Friday that it has sent insurer Cigna Corp.

subsidiary Express Scripts Inc. a written notice of its plan to terminate their pharmacy provider agreement for commercial customers. “Express Scripts drug pricing model is unsustainable for Kroger and consumers; access to affordable prescriptions and wellness services remains company’s top priority,” Kroger said in a statement. Cigna shares edged up 0.1% in afternoon trading while Kroger’s stock dropped 1.2%. Kroger said it has attempted on “dozens” of occasions since February to negotiate in good faith for a more “equitable and fair contract” that lowers costs, increases access and provides more transparency, “but there has been little to no progress to date.” Kroger said more than 90% of Kroger Health’s customers will not be affected by a termination of the Express Scripts agreement, but if a new agreement is not reached by Dec. 31, most Express Scripts’ commercial customers won’t be able to fill prescriptions at Kroger stores. Shares of Kroger have slipped 2.5% year to date and Cigna’s have rallied 22.3%, while the S&P 500

has dropped 23.6%.

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