As If Millions of Prescription Change Orders Suddenly Cried Out in Terror and Were Suddenly Silenced

You might know, if you’re in the United States, have health insurance, and have an insurer that uses Express Scripts for its prescription benefits management, that as of January 1, 2012, the Walgreens pharmacy chain and Express Scripts contract ended. Which means that your insurance card does not work at Walgreens, and if you want our pharmaceuticals at reduced rates, you have to transfer your prescriptions to other pharmacies.

How many prescriptions are affected?

90,000,000:

An Express Scripts spokesman say their customers previously filled 90 million prescriptions at Walgreens. Now they’re taking them elsewhere.

It’s my understanding that the Express Scripts processing system was down all day on January 11. Is it related? I don’t know.

But I do wonder whether Express Scripts load tested its system to handle 90,000,000 change orders in a matter of days while handling its normal processing for all other normal maintenance.

It could be a valuable lesson anyway: Even after you’ve load tested your application to the limits of your budget for virtual users or to a level where the stakeholders are comfortable with very gradual ramp up times, sometimes events out of IT’s control could lead to a catastrophic meltdown.

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