The war between Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the state's dominant local drugstore chain keeps escalating.

Last week, Illinois-based Walgreens pulled out of Delaware's Medicaid program to fill prescriptions for the poor after complaining the state wasn't paying enough. The chain also urged customers of its 60+-store Delaware subsidiary, Happy Harry's, to write to Markell and their state reps in protest.

Next, legislators started urging Delaware state workers to stop filling their prescriptions at Happy Harry's stores. Then, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores filed suit against Markell and state and federal health officials. Markell said today they were trying to "intimidate" him into paying higher prices.  

"Walgreens is the only member of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores that has withdrawn from Delaware's Medicaid program," Markell said in a statement. "Other major pharmacies – like Rite-Aid, Shop Rite, Acme, Pathmark, Walmart, Super G and Target – and independently owned pharmacies throughout Delaware remain in the Medicaid program and continue to serve Delaware's Medicaid population.  
“If these are negotiating tactics, they are not good ones," the governor added. "We are always open to conversation, but we will not be bullied, especially when we are asking so many individuals and organizations in Delaware to share in the sacrifices necessary to close an $800 million budget gap.”
An irony here is that Markell's economic development chief, Alan Levin, used to own Happy Harry's (his dad was Harry) before he sold it to Walgreen's five years ago - and Walgreen's says Levin used similar tactics in response to early Medicaid cuts, reports the Wilmington News Journal here.